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  • Writer's pictureSafer Places

Background Checks & Target Hardening for Churches/Temples

News stories about crimes in places of worship are all too often in the headlines and there are many more that may not make it to the level of national or even regional news. Sometimes the church or synagogue itself is the target of the perpetrator: arson, vandalism, shootings during worship services are but a few examples. Other times, the crime comes from within, perpetrated by clergy, lay staff or volunteers against parishioners, all too often, vulnerable children. The reasons for this are varied and not completely understood but may involve religious intolerance or possibly the fact that perpetrators see a place of worship as an easy target. Safer Places President David Sawyer will be speaking at the National Association of Temple Administrators (NATA) annual conference in Chicago in early December about mitigating the dangers facing temples and churches of all faiths. The reality is that we need to think about hardening the target both from outsiders and from within. Many places of worship are forming security teams to provide safety during events and to scrutinize policies and procedures regarding background checks for staff and volunteers. Then there's the issue of registered sex offenders attending services and other events. While most houses of worship want to portray themselves as welcoming to all, they must realize the need to balance the sinners need for redemption with the rights of children and others to be able to worship and learn in a safe environment. Click Here to read a multi-faceted article about more churches conducting background checks but many are failing to go beyond a cursory check that amounts to little more than a Google search, even for those who will be working with the most vulnerable of our population.

At Safer Places, both our security consulting division and our background screening division have seen a significant uptick in business from religious organizations of late. We are happy to start with a free, no obligation telephone consult if your place of worship is among those looking to make it as safe and secure as possible.

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