Updated: Sep 12
Theft in churches isn't always carried out by obvious criminals; it can happen in broad daylight and involve familiar individuals like employees, visitors, and maintenance staff. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that 75% of employees steal from their workplaces, and most do so repeatedly! Thieves might take items like unattended purses, office supplies, and equipment, or even commit identity theft if sensitive information is stored. To combat this issue, United Methodist Insurance recommends implementing the following preventive measures within your ministry:
1. Background Checks and Visitor Control: Conduct thorough background checks on potential employees and anyone else who will be in the church unaccompanied. Visitors should be supervised, and their access should be controlled and monitored.
2. Training: Educate employees and volunteers about making responsible decisions. For example, if someone is working alone in the church at night, they should secure their belongings and lock doors if they must leave for any reason.
3. Physical Security: Who has keys to the different areas of the church? Do the keys to the office open other doors in the church and vice versa? You may also determine that you need increased security, such as an alarm system or motion-activated surveillance cameras.
4. Property Visibility: If someone walks around your building on a reconnaissance mission to identify targets and points of entry, what will they see? Avoid making valuable items easily visible from outside by securing equipment and technology out of sight to discourage thieves from targeting and attacking.
5. Additional Security Measures: Utilize cable locks, locked metal shelves, and secondary deadbolts to deter theft of valuable items.
6.Environmental Measures: Don’t provide cover for thieves! Maintain neat landscaping and good outdoor lighting. Consider installing shatter-proof glass on doors and windows and fencing the premises if necessary.
Our ministry is to protect your ministry. Download the full Crime & Violence Handbook for Churches from United Methodist Insurance today!
This content has been prepared by United Methodist Insurance Company (UMI) for informational purposes only. No article or document may accurately contemplate all possible scenarios or church resources. As such, this information is meant to foster discussion by the individual church and its members to develop a plan tailored to its own circumstances. UMI is providing this information with no warranties or guarantees of any kind and it should not be viewed as legal, financial, or other professional advice. All liability is expressly disclaimed. Any claim examples described herein are general in nature, may or may not be based on actual claims, and are for informational purposes only. Any coverage available for a claim is determined from the facts and circumstances of the claim as well as the terms and conditions of any applicable policy, including any exclusions or deductibles. In the event of a conflict with the content herein, the terms and conditions of any issued policy will control. Individual coverage may vary and may not be available in all states.
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