Most churches keep open-door policies. This means it is sometimes hard to police who comes in and out of the property. The threat of theft, vandalism or property damage might increase in certain cases.
You don't want to keep the doors locked to prevent these issues. A closed-door policy is against your mission. So, what can you do?
If you institute proper security, you likely can have the best of both worlds. Here are some ways you can keep your property and congregation secure.
Common Church Theft and Vandalism Risks
Churches face theft risks, in some cases due to their own generosity. Thieves might hit churches because they know they can find cash used for charity. Not only that, many assets, from computers to gold decorations, might prove valuable to the devious-minded. Thieves could do damage, make off with hard assets, and even endanger congregations.
Most church property insurance will cover instances of theft. If you have appropriate coverage, you can often replace even the most valuable items. Though exclusions and deductibles might apply, you can set up policies to provide maximum benefits. Your insurance agent can help you determine how to tailor your coverage.
Preventing Theft Is Paramount
Even if the church carries insurance, its managers should enforce security regulations. Every church must have a comprehensive security plan in place. Here are some sound elements to include in yours.
- Only leave certain entrances unlocked at one time. For example, during a workday, only keep the door to the office unlocked. Unlock other entrances as needed for services or meetings.
- Maintain sign-in sheets and check-in requirements for volunteers or visitors. The office should always know who is on the property.
- Station members, or even security officers, in visible areas during events. These individuals can keep an eye out for potentially-hazardous developments.
- Don't keep significant cash reserves on hand. If your church must keep reserves, be sure to place cash, credit cards and financial information under lock and key. Offerings and other funds are safer in a bank. Church financial officers should see to their congregation's safe deposits.
- Install security systems. Security cameras and alarm systems are almost always to the benefit of churches. These should remain armed. Place cameras in offices, near doorways and in parking lots.
- Be careful when distributing keys or security codes to the property. Know who has them, and require those people to tell you if they lose these items.
- Place security warnings around the premises. Parishioners and others should know what to do to keep the property safe.
With the right care, you can reduce security threats on the property. Therefore, you might not ever have to file a theft claim on your property. Even so, don't go without coverage. It can be useful if random incidents occur.