A Security Checklist for Churches


• Illuminate building exterior, entrances, and parking lots.

• Use motion-activated lighting near doors and windows.

• Install burglar and fire alarm systems that transmit a message.

• Develop an evacuation plan in case of fire.

• Trim or remove shrubbery and signs that obstruct the view of the building from the street.

• Clean house by removing trash, unneeded materials, and other materials that could contribute to fire spread.

• Use properly installed deadbolt locks on all exterior doors.

• Keep windows locked (preferably with spring-loaded bolts), barred (releasable from the inside) or protected with wire screens.

• Many churches have basement entries that are hidden from view. These should be secured with locking ground-level doors when the building is not in use.

• Secure ladders, external stairways, and fire escapes that allow access to the roof.

• Keep track of who has keys. Change locks when keys are lost.

• Consider fencing the areas or sides that are not readily visible to patrols or neighbors. Appoint a person from the church to be a liaison with law and fire officials and request a fire prevention and security evaluation.

• Be wary of strangers, register guests, check on suspicious individuals, and make employees aware of the need to keep a record of suspicious activity. Check credentials of service personnel; individuals may pose as service technicians to get into the church.

• Ask ushers and other volunteers to be alert to any unusual behavior before, during, and after official church functions.

• Increase watch presence during holidays and special events.

• Be aware of individuals that may be disgruntled or likely to cause damage to church property through arson or vandalism.

• Be aware that vandalism may precede arson.

• Arsonists may carry a liquid accelerate in an inconspicuous container, such as a beverage container.

• Encourage neighbors to make note of strangers spending time in the neighborhood, either on foot or in vehicles. Write down the license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles and inform the proper authorities.

• Do not advertise on church signs or bulletins when church will not be in use.

• If there is a private security firm in your area, consider a contract with them because they will check the building at unscheduled intervals.

• Involve your insurance agent; they often have good arson/fire prevention ideas.



Bringing together the New York City leadership of Christian Denominations and Borough Councils of Churches, including:
Anglican, Baptist, Congregational, Disciples, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, Orthodox, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, and
Independent Churches


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New York, NY 10115-0070


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