Is your place of worship safe? Should you be concerned?
Places of worship are especially challenging to protect because their environment must be welcoming to the public. If we have armed guards and metal detectors processing participants into the facility, there wouldn't be much of an audience.
With the horrific hate killings at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston in 2015, and again in Sutherland, Texas, last week, parishioners are wondering if they can worship in safety.
If worshipers are not a little concerned, they should be, but there is no need for panic, provided church leaders take the proper steps to improve security. I don't have space here to share what should be done, but I can enlighten readers on a few questions that need to be asked of church leaders.
I strongly recommend that houses of worship have a Security Risk Analysis conducted by someone skilled in this area of security to assess threats and hazards and identify cost-effective security counter measures to mitigate loss events.
A solid security program can be implemented that, for the most part, is transparent to congregants.
If your place of worship is interested in learning more about improving security, please email me at the address below. If there is sufficient interest, our ASIS Savannah Lowcountry Chapter will hold a special training session to assist those interested in making their places of worship safer.
For more information, visit www. savannahlowcountryasis.weebly.com
Jim McGuffey, M.A., CPP, PSP of Bluffton is the owner of A.C.E. Security Consultants and is board certified in security management and physical security. jimmc firstname.lastname@example.org or www.acesecurity consultants.com