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Church Safety: Five Security Mistakes That Churches Make

Church Safety
EGS Church Safety Services

Churches are sanctuaries where people seek peace, community, and spiritual growth. However, in today's world, they must also prioritize security to ensure the safety of their congregants. Unfortunately, many churches make common security mistakes that can leave them vulnerable to threats. Here are five key security mistakes that churches often make and how to avoid them.

1. Underestimating the Need for Security

The Mistake: Many churches operate under the belief that they are safe havens and thus underestimate the need for robust security measures. This complacency can lead to a lack of preparedness for potential threats.

The Reality: Churches are not immune to crime or violence. Incidents such as theft, vandalism, and even active shooter situations have occurred in places of worship. Without proper security, churches are easy targets for those looking to exploit perceived vulnerabilities.

The Solution: Recognize the importance of security in protecting your congregation. Conduct a thorough risk assessment to identify potential threats and vulnerabilities. Develop a comprehensive security plan that includes preventive measures and emergency response protocols.

2. Relying Solely on Unarmed Security

The Mistake: Opting for unarmed security personnel can be a common choice due to cost concerns or a desire to maintain a welcoming atmosphere. However, unarmed guards may be insufficient in deterring or responding to serious threats.

The Reality: Unarmed security personnel can handle minor incidents but are often ill-equipped to deal with more serious threats, such as an armed intruder. In such situations, unarmed guards may be unable to protect the congregation effectively.

The Solution: Consider employing trained and armed security personnel who can provide a higher level of protection. Ensure that these individuals are well-trained in both firearms use and de-escalation techniques. Their presence can act as a solid deterrent to potential attackers.

3. Neglecting Access Control

The Mistake: Failing to implement proper access control measures can leave churches vulnerable to unauthorized entry. Many churches have open-door policies that, while welcoming, can also pose security risks.

The Reality: Without access control, anyone can enter the premises unnoticed, potentially putting congregants at risk. This is particularly concerning during large gatherings or events where monitoring individual entries becomes challenging.

The Solution: Implement access control measures such as key cards, security personnel at entrances, and visitor check-ins. Restrict access to certain areas of the church to authorized personnel only. This ensures that you know who is on the premises at all times and can respond quickly to any unauthorized access.

4. Inadequate Surveillance Systems

The Mistake: Another common error is relying on outdated or insufficient surveillance systems. Some churches may have cameras installed but lack real-time monitoring or sufficient coverage of key areas.

The Reality: Inadequate surveillance can result in missed threats and delayed incident response. Without comprehensive coverage and monitoring, it becomes difficult to identify and address suspicious activities promptly.

The Solution: Invest in a modern surveillance system with high-quality cameras and real-time monitoring capabilities. Ensure that all key areas, including entrances, parking lots, and common gathering spaces, are adequately covered. Regularly review footage and maintain the system to ensure it is functioning correctly.

5. Lack of Emergency Preparedness

The Mistake: Many churches do not have a well-defined emergency preparedness plan. This can lead to confusion and chaos in an emergency, increasing the risk of harm to congregants.

The Reality: In emergencies, such as natural disasters, fires, or active shooter situations, a lack of preparedness can result in slow and ineffective responses. Congregants and staff may not know how to act, leading to panic and potentially more significant harm.

The Solution: Develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness plan with clear emergency procedures. Regular training and drills should be conducted for staff and volunteers so they know their roles and responsibilities. Communicate the plan to the congregation and ensure everyone knows how to respond in an emergency.


Ensuring the church's safety of your congregation requires proactive and comprehensive security measures. By avoiding these common security mistakes—underestimating the need for security, relying solely on unarmed guards, neglecting access control, using inadequate surveillance systems, and lacking emergency preparedness—churches can better protect their congregants and create a safe environment for worship and community activities. Prioritize security to provide peace of mind and a secure sanctuary for all.

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