While you may be away from your ministry's building and working from home due to COVID-19, thieves may take advantage of this vulnerable time.
It's important for you to make sure that your ministry appears occupied while you're away to help deter potential criminals. Here are eight helpful tips to prevent a break-in:
- Lock up doors, windows and external stairways before you leave.
- Keep track of your keys. Compile a list of individuals who have access to church keys. Limit the number of people on the list and recalibrate locks if any keys are lost or stolen.
- Check in. If you or a staff member lives close by, stop by the office to make sure that nothing has happened to your building.
- Landscape around buildings to eliminate hiding areas close to the building wherever possible. This is most important near windows and doors. Keep shrubbery and trees trimmed so the building can be observed by passing patrols.
- Get automatic timers. These timers can turn lights on and off in different rooms at different times. If you can't get automatic timers, leave lights on in one or two interior rooms. They can make thieves think that someone is inside.
- Install central station fire and burglar alarm systems. A central station alarm alerts a manned security station, resulting in the deployment of law enforcement and fire officials. A local alarm system sounds at the premises, which means it's only effective if someone hears it and notifies police.
- Create an inventory list of all property, including serial numbers, model descriptions, and purchase prices or cost estimates. Keep the list in a safe location, such as a safe deposit box. Your attorney or insurance agent should have a copy as well.
- Ask local police to patrol your property as often as possible during the night hours. You might also ask local law enforcement and fire officials to inspect your premises and give advice on how to thoroughly secure your building.
What to Do If a Crime Occurs
While we hope nothing happens to your property during this time away, it is important to know what to do in the event a crime is committed at your church because it can assist in keeping you and your members safe.
- Call the police if you notice suspicious persons or activities around your church or if you discover a crime has been committed. Do not deal with the criminal(s) yourself.
- Observe carefully. If you witness a crime, try to remember the details such as description of the suspect, including gender; height; build; color of skin, hair and eyes; age; voice or speech; scars or tattoos; jewelry and clothing.
- Make a list of all missing or damaged property if you discover theft or vandalism has occurred.
- Don't disturb the crime scene.
- Notify your insurance agent as soon as possible. This will enable you to verify available insurance as well as receive a fast, fair settlement.
If you have questions or need to report a claim, feel free to contact us at (214) 720-2868. For more resources about COVID-19, click here