The welcoming nature of churches makes them vulnerable to thieves who can take advantage of them being open and unattended.
The general designs and function of a church or place of worship makes general security more complicated but a great deal can be done at a modest expense:
- Locking your church at all times unless a responsible person is present.
- Small valuable items should be stored away in a locked vestry, cupboard or safe when not in use during the week.
- Altarware – wooden or base metal substitutes should be displayed and the originals locked away. They can be returned for services and events.
- Antique furniture and other valuables – consideration should be given to discreet chaining to floor and wall. This may not deter the determined thief but may be sufficient to prevent the opportunist criminal.
- Valuables should be kept in a safe or a strong room when not being used for a service.
- Valuables, including communion plates, which are not in regular use should be deposited in the bank.
- Keys should be kept by a responsible person or in a secure place away from the church.
- The vestry should be secured by good quality locks and bars at the windows. All locks should conform to BS 3621, or higher, specification.
- All property should be photographed and a log kept. This needs to be stored in a safe place away from the church. It’s a good idea to use a coin, such as a 50p, to indicate size.
- The offertory box should ideally be emptied daily. A notice should be displayed on the box indicating this.
- Vulnerable stained glass windows can be protected externally by polycarbonate sheet.
- Be vigilant and report anything suspicious to the police at the time.