Protecting Places of Worship from Acts of Violence

Have you ever worried about your church being targeted with violence? As reports of mass shootings and violence in our country increase, more and more churches are taking extra precautions to protect attendees.

Congress recently passed a law to allocate $375 million to substantially increase funding to the Nonprofit Security Grants Program, which allows nonprofits, faith based organizations, and places of worship to apply for $100,000 grants for upgrades to security systems. The bill received bipartisan support and passed unanimously in the Senate.

Before signing the bill on January 24, President Donald Trump said, “In the face of attacks on synagogues, mosques, and churches in our community — something that is just so horrible — we must work together to reject the monstrous evils of anti-Semitism and anti-religious bigotry.”

Peter Johnson is an expert in security and training for emergency situations. He spoke with The Drew Mariani ShowTM to share his advice for faith-based non-profits and churches to stay safe.

For non-profits that have little foot traffic, Johnson recommends electronic entry where people are stopped at the door before entering, as a bare minimum. “Now if you’re client facing that completely changes it, or if you’re faith-based—a church, specifically—your doors, by the very nature of your mission, is to welcome everybody in,” he acknowledged.

A basic way to improve security is to train security volunteers or even the ushers during Mass to spot and respond to a threat. “Getting your team on point … where spotting indicators of somebody who might not be there for the same intention of everyone else. I think if you do nothing else, starting with that is the most valuable thing because you’ll be able to spot concerns before something hits,” said Johnson.

If you are concerned about security and safety at your church, bring it up with your parish council. Hopefully you will never encounter violence at your place of worship, but it’s great to have a parish plan for a quick and efficient response should anything ever happen.

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, protect us!

Tune in to The Drew Mariani ShowTM weekdays at 3-6pm ET / noon-3pm PT only on Relevant Radio®.

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.