Thanks to increasing awareness of the importance of installing security in places of worship, many of these facilities have now invested in security technology that can help keep both their facilities and members more secure.
As the threat of violence towards religious groups becomes a growing issue, facility managers for these buildings have seen a growing need to improve building security.
Doing so isn’t without challenges, especially as building managers struggle to keep religious buildings accessible to the community at all hours of the day while also combatting theft and vandalism.
Here are four ways that places of worship can improve their overall building security.
- Limit Building Access Points
One of the biggest challenges places of worship face is how much access to allow within a building or church. Restricting building access is one way to keep these facilities secure, but it’s not always practical.
Instead, many facilities are limiting how many entrances can actively be used during the day and funneling people to a central entrance where they can implement enhanced visitor management features through an intercom system.
In addition, facility owners are keeping exterior doors locked throughout the day, such as the back entrance to a banquet hall or the kitchen. Using either an intercom system or an access control reader can enable a place of worship to manage vendor access to deliver food and other goods.
- Install an Access Control System
Keeping a church, synagogue, or mosque open to the public and its congregants at all times is no longer feasible in today’s world. These buildings need to have security measures in place that allow those who are permitted to enter to gain full access while keeping out individuals who may have bad intentions.
Installing an entry control system, such as an access control system or keypad, can enable building doors to remain locked late at night, but automatically unlock early in the morning to allow people to enter for early morning prayer.
Some churches have taken limiting access a step further by giving members an access control credential or unique pin that enables them to access select areas of the facility after hours when needed.
- Leverage Intercoms to Manage the Flow of Visitors
Religious buildings are often a central gathering point, serving as extensions of the community with classrooms, meeting areas, and banquet halls that can accommodate a variety of uses. These uses can include school children’s groups like the Girls Scouts or the local Little League program to non-religious support groups and private events.
As more religious buildings extend their offering beyond traditional worship services, it becomes increasingly important to understand who is accessing the facility and when.
By installing an intercom system, a receptionist can manage a person’s or group’s requests to enter the building, communicate with the visitor, and verify the purpose of their visit before giving them access. With a video intercom system, this process can be taken a step further to include visual verification and to capture a video recording as a person enters.
- Invest in Parking Lot Emergency Communication Towers
Parking lot safety is often an overlooked aspect of building security, but as more and more churches, synagogues, and mosques grow and their parking lots expand, this has also become an issue.
Expansive parking lots that accommodate hundreds of vehicles should have proper security systems in place that enable people to call for help in the event of an emergency. For example, in the event of a medical incident, an emergency communication tower provides a reliable means of communication since the emergency tower is a hardwired system and does not rely on a cellular network.
When a person pushes the emergency call button, the emergency tower directly connects with a live individual, whether it’s a front office employee or the safety office, and then communicates the tower’s exact location. This makes it easier to send help to the right location.
Just as people have become in tune to the importance and need for security in buildings such as schools, malls, offices, and hospitals, building managers also recognize that places of worship also need proper security measures in place to maintain the sanctity and security of these spaces.
Brad Kamcheff has been in the security communication industry for more than 30 years. He is the marketing manager at Aiphone, a manufacturer of access control and intercom systems, www.aiphone.com.