Securing Houses of Worship

In light of the recent attack in NZ, here are some basic basic tips for securing any house of worship. If your congregation wishes to receive actual training on how to deal with one or multiple active shooters, please PM or email directly. Fair warning, good training isn’t cheap, and if you want the best, it’s typically a little more. But, what we do collectively know from years of combat experience is that the body will never perform under stress unless the training repetitions and stress inoculation occurs.

Organized, effective response against an active shooter whether at a church, school, shopping facility, or other low security/high target density facility is achieved along various fronts. Some brief advice below, which can be implemented immediately and with little cost.

“Each congregation is tasked with the challenge of creating a safe place to worship. Various security precautions can be implemented in a non-intrusive manner, completely unknown and unobserved by congregants. For example, implementing a “Welcoming Committee” that includes individuals observing and welcoming people as they enter the facility will basically be unnoticed as a security program, yet it is highly effective when the members are trained in security detection.

Other security measures may appear drastic in some settings, while rather routine in others. For example, the church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt, in April 2017, highlighted the importance of body scanners, as one of the bombers was denied access to the church until he had walked through the scanner. He detonated the bomb as he approached the scanner, killing several and injuring many. An important point here is that because the bomber was denied entrance due to access control, many lives were saved. Congregations in most countries must consider the possibility
of terrorism from bombs, vehicles, or other means.

Religious leaders are essential to the successful implementation of security programs and, in many instances, will be the ones to take the lead. If your congregation includes security and/or law enforcement professionals or military personnel, you may have additional support in your initiatives. Regardless of congregation size, facility size, or location, it is imperative that religious organizations
keep the topic of security on their radar screen.” – ASIS (Securing Houses of Worship Around the Word)