Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Security and Religion

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Security and Religion

    Today, two shooting incidents in Colorado awakened church-goers and church leaders to the fact that they can be gunned down coming out of church, just like shoppers can be gunned down in a mall.

    There's nothing new about houses of worship being targets of crime, of course, including fraud, embezzlement, theft, hate crimes, harassment, murders arising out of domestic conflicts, burglary, vandalism, auto theft, purse-snatching, robbery, sex crimes, assaults, shootings, bombings and arson. Some of you might have seen the "real crime" television program not long ago concerning one pastor who conspired to have the pastor of a "competing" church murdered. Unfortunately for him, he was conspiring with undercover agents.

    In addition, houses of worship are subject to all of the issues pertaining to emergency management that are common to any place where people gather in significant numbers when an area is suddenly hit with a tornado, flood or hazmat incident.

    And, houses of worship often host special events that should include proper plans and capabilities for crowd control, adverse incidents, medical emergencies, etc.

    And, many denominations operate primary, junior high and/or high schools, and even "Bible colleges", with the same security issues of any other school.

    Some churches operate "commercial" ventures, such as consignment shops, bakeries and even clothing stores, although they are organized as "nonprofits".

    Some churches operate shelters for the homeless, and restaurant-grade kitchens to feed the poor. Not hard to see the security issues here.

    Houses of worship are, like every other segment of society, increasingly computerized, with the IT security vulnerabilities that entails. Membership lists have been hacked from church computer systems.

    Finally, houses of worship will have certain employee positions (money-handling, people working with vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly, etc.) for which background investigations should be part of the hiring procedure.

    When you add it all up, houses of worship are not immune from most, if not all, of the security issues confronting other types of organizations.

    Bottom line is that this represents a significant niche market segment for security and emergency management companies - both in consulting and on the vendor side. They need things in place like a safety committee, evacuation plans, alarm systems, the capability of sheltering-in-place, parishioner notification systems, and very discrete security services (even armed security - it was an armed security officer who killed the Colorado church gunman).

    Most big security vendors, other than alarm/CCTV companies, tend to ignore this market niche, despite all of the secondary marketing potential that might derive from it (HINT: CORPORATE EXECUTIVES DO GO TO CHURCH!). This is something worth thinking about for the smaller security company owner who is looking for a specialty.

    Philip Purpura published "Securing Houses of Worship" in 1999 but it is now out of print, and there is precious little literature on this subject. However, you can start with ideas taken from school security (about which much has been written), basic emergency management literature and the numerous journals that are published on church management (yes, church management is not unlike business management and has its own literature). Regarding the latter, a research librarian in any decent-sized library can help you to both identify these journals and locate applicable articles. You will also find material about houses of worship in homeland security literature.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-10-2007, 09:23 AM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

    "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

    "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

  • #2
    About 6 years ago I was contacted by a parishoner and friend from a prominent catholic church who was concerned that the priest / collectors were taking many thousands in collections to the bank and were targets for robbery or burglary after hours. I suggested they utilise a covert cash in transit team and to suggest that some parishoners may wish to direct transfer their donations into the church's bank a/c.

    The 4 priests agreed on these ideas and it was the Bishop (sorry not religous so hope I am using the right terms) agreed to trial my ideas in 2 other large churches which mitigated the risk - big time. However, as I have been made aware in the US, many people don't have a bank a/c s (don't know how in 2007 people can operate their lives like this) as this may not be a perfect answer.
    "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by NRM_Oz View Post
      However, as I have been made aware in the US, many people don't have a bank a/c s (don't know how in 2007 people can operate their lives like this) as this may not be a perfect answer.
      Every society has a subculture of people without bank accounts, but I doubt many of these folks are making contributions to churches anyway. For the "mainstream" parishioners, direct transfer is a great idea, although I'm not sure what it would cost the church to set that up. I'm not familiar with any churches that have an "automatic contribution" program, which is a related idea, but I don't see why it couldn't be done if the transaction fees are reasonable.
      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

      Comment


      • #4
        While I tend to focus on aspects of actually protecting things (and people!), I'm surprised that even the observe and report only type security operations are ignoring churches.

        While there's the whole, "nothing would ever happen at Church, after all, we're all God-fearing people here," presumption... We all know what assumptions of that type do.

        I think my biggest question is: Why are places of worship being ignored? Now, a friend of mine is a security company owner, and stated that they're simply not profitable in his area. They want a guard for 1-3 hours, guarding the parking lot while everyone is inside.

        Or, they want a guard for 2 hours for the church social. This turns into about 4-6 billing hours a week, which isn't enough to make it profitable.
        Some Kind of Commando Leader

        "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
          While I tend to focus on aspects of actually protecting things (and people!), I'm surprised that even the observe and report only type security operations are ignoring churches.

          While there's the whole, "nothing would ever happen at Church, after all, we're all God-fearing people here," presumption... We all know what assumptions of that type do.

          I think my biggest question is: Why are places of worship being ignored? Now, a friend of mine is a security company owner, and stated that they're simply not profitable in his area. They want a guard for 1-3 hours, guarding the parking lot while everyone is inside.
          Or, they want a guard for 2 hours for the church social. This turns into about 4-6 billing hours a week, which isn't enough to make it profitable.
          There is more to this than just guarding the parking lot. There are alot of security related issues with churches. This is one area where I offer pro-bono services.
          Retail Security Consultant / Expert Witness
          Co-Author - Effective Security Management 6th Edition

          Contributor to Retail Crime, Security and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
            I think my biggest question is: Why are places of worship being ignored? Now, a friend of mine is a security company owner, and stated that they're simply not profitable in his area. They want a guard for 1-3 hours, guarding the parking lot while everyone is inside.

            Or, they want a guard for 2 hours for the church social. This turns into about 4-6 billing hours a week, which isn't enough to make it profitable.
            Your friend's view of church/temple/synagogue security, and his understanding of how to market his services, was far too narrow. Just goes to show you that it's a bad idea not to look for markets the big boys ignore, instead of forever trying to compete against them in the market space that they "own".

            1. You might get such "one-off" jobs initially, but it gives you the entree to propose a much more comprehensive program at some point down the road (like, after the church has been vandalized/burglarized, or after an event such as the one in Colorado). This assumes, of course, that you can do something besides just guard/patrol work...which is another management subject altogether I'll discuss sometime.

            2. As I mentioned in my original posting, business executives and others who might be security decision-makers at their jobs DO go to church. If you post a truly sharp officer and a clean vehicle with sharp graphics at the event, your company will make a good impression on many people. You'd have to pay big bucks to get the same exposure by any form of media.

            In fact, if it were truly a small, no-profit job, I might be tempted to do it pro bono, or at cost, for the public exposure and because there's lots of PR mileage that can be realized out of doing that. These intangible benefits might well be worth more than any miniscule profit you would earn.

            And, just because you establish a "specialty" in a market niche like this does not mean that you're limited in any way from serving other markets as well. This isn't a straightjacket..it is an interesting and useful way to distinguish your company from the other guys. In a way, it's a form of very clever marketing jiu-jitsu. When all we can think about is the immediate return from "this one-day security gig", we miss some very good opportunities for future growth and marketing advantage.
            Last edited by SecTrainer; 12-10-2007, 09:38 AM.
            "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

            "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

            "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

            "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

            Comment


            • #7
              A company I worked for had me working with a Syngogue and I met with a Rabbi to R/A the whole workings of the Synagoge due to Nazi slogans and death threats to the business people adjacent to the Synagogue. Again my R/A was examined by the elders and only some of the recommendations were followed as one of the issues was their fixed schedules.

              I do know 1 church that installed a CCTV system outside the church to assist in the prevention of vandalism and recording of such events and overseeing their carpark but with thoughts of the recent church shootings in the USA - it appears to be bandaid treatment for the future.
              "Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer" Sun Tzu

              Comment


              • #8
                I recall the local Synagogue hired 2 SOs for patrol/static coverage of their grounds whilst worshippers were inside following a recent spate of religious hate crimes/attacks, though that petered out as the whole community eventually forgot or at least stopped thinking about such events & the security coverage was axed...

                Additionally I know of a religious group who whilst inside conducting their worshipping, actually lock the doors & gates to the facility... this sounds like a significant fire hazard waiting to happen IMHO
                "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give" - Winston Churchill

                Comment


                • #9
                  The Jewish people seem to be extremely aware of security & for good reason. The Synagogues in Montreal all have security. The town where I was a volunteer medic with a rescue squad was majority Jewish. During the Holidays we would patrol around the Synagogues to provide extra security. These days I have been asked to patrol around the home & synagogue of the owner of my 3 hotels during holidays.
                  I enforce rules and regulations, not laws.
                  Security Officers. The 1st First Responders.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This article basically reiterates what Trainer is saying. The pasted below is a fraction of the article.

                    The armed volunteer, Jeanne Assam, shot the gunman, who police said may have committed suicide. New Life's pastor credited her with saving dozens more lives.

                    Churches want to present an open and welcoming image, but in an era of mass-casualty shootings and terrorism threats, the violence at New Life highlights a new emphasis on security. Some of the nation's estimated 1,200 megachurches _ places where more than 2,000 worshippers gather each week _ have been quietly beefing up security in recent years, even using armed guards to protect the faithful.

                    Meanwhile, many more, often smaller congregations typically don't have detailed security plans because they don't have the money or don't want to risk turning people away.

                    http://www6.comcast.net/news/article...ings.Security/
                    THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A 911 CALL IS FOUR MINUTES
                    THE AVERAGE RESPONSE TIME FOR A .357 MAGNUM ROUND IS 1400 FEET PER SECOND?
                    http://www.boondocksaints.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chucky View Post
                      This article basically reiterates what Trainer is saying. The pasted below is a fraction of the article.

                      Meanwhile, many more, often smaller congregations typically don't have detailed security plans because they don't have the money or don't want to risk turning people away.

                      http://www6.comcast.net/news/article...ings.Security/
                      And, once again, we can thank the blabbermouth press for helping badguys pick their targets. Megachurches are beefing up security...smaller churches are what you want to attack.

                      You wonder whether there's a single editor anywhere in the country who asks himself "Should we print this?" - whether it's about national security, military operations or things like this.
                      "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                      "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                      "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                      "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SecTrainer View Post
                        And, once again, we can thank the blabbermouth press for helping badguys pick their targets. Megachurches are beefing up security...smaller churches are what you want to attack.

                        You wonder whether there's a single editor anywhere in the country who asks himself "Should we print this?" - whether it's about national security, military operations or things like this.
                        SecTrainer, I too was appalled by this news article. They print or speak to increase their ratings. Two faces on one coin.
                        Enjoy the day,
                        Bill

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Not sure if Colorado is one of them, but many states don't allow licensed CCW holders to carry while inside a house of worship. I'm happy to see that this church was at least responsible enough to have armed guards on site to keep the churchgoers in this victim disarmament zone (VDZ) safe. While it is indeed true that allowing CCW inside of church would effectively put those SO's out of a job, I also believe that ultimately, a person's safety is their own responsibility. Government regulations that force people to disarm make it more difficult for people to do this lawfully. They are either forced to be vulnerable or simply not go to these VDZ's, even if armed security is present. Personally, whether security is present or not, I think my chances of surviving a shooting rampage are enhanced if either myself or those around me are armed.
                          Last edited by tattedupboy; 12-13-2007, 01:17 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            From what I understand, they were not hired. They were volunteers.

                            I have heard reports that the pastor will not hire security personnel because he considers them mercenaries. These were church goers who decided to carry guns with his blessing to protect their "fellow church goer."
                            Some Kind of Commando Leader

                            "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
                              From what I understand, they were not hired. They were volunteers.

                              I have heard reports that the pastor will not hire security personnel because he considers them mercenaries. These were church goers who decided to carry guns with his blessing to protect their "fellow church goer."
                              I believe the church has a paid security coordinator, manager, or whatever they call him, who obviously is armed. They do use volunteers, but have also hired additional armed security for special events.
                              "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

                              "I can't predict the future, but I know that it'll be very weird." - Anonymous

                              "There is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9

                              "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron

                              Comment

                              Leaderboard

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X