How to Secure your Place of Worship


Security Cameras and Alarms for Churches, Synagogues, and Temples

Are you interested in learning how to secure your place of worship, but not sure where to start?

Use this piece hand-in-hand with our Beginner’s Guide for Securing Your Perimeter. It provides an excellent foundation and will help you think about the basics before you focus on the specific needs to your church, synagogue or temple.

Securing a campus like a church or a synagogue can feel intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. We want to empower you with the knowledge you need. This article gives real life examples of threats your place of worship may face, along with solutions for each.

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Threat: Criminal Activity in Parking Lot(s)

At a church, synagogue, or temple, you most likely have large windows of time when your parking lot is empty. Unfortunately, vacant, unmonitored parking lots attract unwanted visitors at night, including those to procure drugs or participate in prostitution.

During church hours, parking lots can sometimes be places of altercation between parishioners (or their vehicles), can be places where thefts of belonging may occur, where vandalism of vehicles may happen, or where a stalker may choose to confront their target. It is important to protect your flock as they come and go.

Solution: Make sure your parking lot has full-coverage.

We recommend mounting long range bullet cameras, like the 4K Warrior, or PTZ cameras, like the Lookout, so they create a slight overlap, creating a triangulation. Parking lots a decent amount of variability, so we've made a specific guide for different types of outdoor parking lots and indoor parking garages. To learn more about securing different types of parking lots, please read those guides.

Threat: Active shooters or other unwanted visitors

It's no secret that recent shootings at houses of worship have led to a national conversation about preventative security. Some denominations have implemented concealed carry programs to protect churchgoers. These types of programs are more effective if you have a reliable security system, consisting of security cameras and alarms in place.

Solution: Cover your entrances

We recommend installing a wide angle turret dome camera, like the Deputy, at each entrance. Depending on your church's size, you may need to prioritize where you install cameras. Monitoring your sanctuary, fellowship hall, and the main office is critical if you're worried about daytime threats. But, if you've dealt with nighttime break-ins, you should watch your side entrances, too.

Installing cameras at your entrances gives you the ability to see who is coming and going, but you also need to be alerted. Give each church employee a unique pin pad code for your alarm system. This makes it easier to track who is coming in and out. We recommend installing open/close door sensors on all of your doors. We also recommend glass break sensors on large windows or sliding glass doors. The benefit of having cameras with an alarm system is that once the alarm goes off, you can review your footage. This gives you the knowledge to make informed decisions about what action you need to take next.

Entrances Camera Coverage Map


church entrance security camera coverage

Solution: Monitor the inside, too

Depending on your concerns, you may want to see who is walking down hallways or sitting in the pews. We recommend that you....

Monitor Your Church Lobby


church lobby and entrance security camera coverage

Monitor Your Hallways


church hallway security camera coverage

Monitor Your Sanctuary


church sanctuary security camera coverage

Threat: Child Abuse or Neglect

Most churches have nursery classrooms and playgrounds (for more information on securing a playground, review this guide). Unfortunately, it isn't uncommon to see allegations on the news about children being abused at places of worship. You should always prioritize the safety of children. Increasing your security will help you protect the children you serve, and protect your community and faculty from liability and bad press.

Solution: Know what's going on in rooms where children play


Make sure you have a camera in every room where children are alone with adult staff or volunteers. We recommend at least one camera per room and using either a wide angle turret dome camera, like the Deputy, or a panoramic 360 degree camera, like the Radius. You'll want to make sure you can track where people are going. Make sure your cameras cover all angles. (If the hallway is longer than 50 ft, you'll need two cameras).

Please note that we did not place a camera in the Nursing Mother's area, as just like bathrooms and changing stations, this would not be legal or acceptable to place a video recording device in an area where people may disrobe. We did place a camera in the hallway, outside the Nursing Mother's area to make sure that if a child is lost, you will have an idea where they have gone, but we have no camera in this room.

*It’s not uncommon for places of worship to have a “no adult alone with child” policy. This is a good policy to have to lower your liability, but you will need to be prove that it is being enforced to have it protect you. We recommend installing a camera in a rooms where child care is provided to show that you take this sort of policy seriously.

Nursery Camera Coverage Map


church nursery security camera coverage

Threat: Working with non-profits or community programs for those in need:

We acknowledge and understand that part of your mission is helping those in need. Sometimes that means you’re dealing with people who are suffering from addiction, mental illness, or homelessness. It might not be uncommon for you to have people with unpredictable behavior on your campus frequently.

Solution: Record All Areas where High Risk Ministries Meet


If you have this kind of ministry, we recommend additional security. For instance, if you host a weekly program that assists the needy in a chapel or addiction group (like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) that meets in a classroom, we recommend installing a camera inside of the room being used.

If you church provides counseling services, we also recommend having a security camera in those areas as the one-on-one nature of counseling can leave your staff open to allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse. Having a camera in these areas will lower your risk. Recording audio is governed by Federal and State Wiretapping Laws, and you should not have audio recording in any area without signage indicating that audio recording is taking place. If you want to record audio in a counseling rooms, we suggest getting a release form to record audio.

Chapel Security Camera Coverage Map


church chapel security camera coverage

Classroom Security Camera Coverage Map


church classroom security camera coverage

Threat: Fire or Water Damage

Most places of worship have large kitchens for preparing meals, and multiple restrooms. Anytime you are using your facility to cook, there is a risk of a fire or gas leak. There’s also the chance of water damage from your kitchen area or restrooms.

Not only do you have liability in terms of safety, but you also need to protect your space.

Solution: Monitor for Fire and Water


Internal threats are just as dangerous (if not more) as external ones and often you have lots of people using your space. The odds that someone leaves the oven on or forgets to turn the water off approach certainty, with so many people using a common space. It is important that costly and unexpected maintenance bills and dangerous situations. There isn't a lot of research specifically about church insurance claims, but 90% of homeowner insurance claims have to do with water or fire - not theft.

Our Shield Alarm has a few sensors that can help with these environmental risks. Shield also has smart monitoring, which sends the right help (Ambulance, Fire Truck, Police) for each emergency, because the monitoring station can know which device is triggering the alarm.

Our 3-in-1 smoke/fire/temperature sensor will alert you and/or the fire department when there are abrupt temperature changes, smoke, or if temperature exceeds a threshold. The Shield Alarm also has a Freeze / Leak detector that notifies you when there’s excessive water or if the temperature is low enough to potentially cause a pipe to burst.

If you use gas heat or stovetops/ranges, we also want to make sure gas leaks aren't a threat to your place of worship. Having a Carbon Monoxide Sensor installed should also be a priority.

Full Camera Coverage Maps used in this Guide on Church Security:

Sample Security Camera System Design for a Mid Sized Church

mid sized church security camera design

Sample Security Camera System Design for a Mega Church

mega church security camera design

Products Referenced in this Church Security Guide:


  1. The Deputy 2.0 - 26DF2 - 2MP (1080P) Fixed Wide Angle Lens Turret Dome Camera

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $150.00


    Resolution

    1080p HD

    1080P @ 30 FPS; 1920 × 1080

    Detect: 75 ft
    Recognize: 40 ft
    Identify: 20 ft


    Processing Power and Compression: Not All 1080P Cameras are Created Equal


    Indoor/Outdoor

    weatherproof

    IP67
    Full protection from dust, rain, snow, dew, frost, and sprinklers.

    You can even submerge it for a few minutes.


    Temp

    temperature rating

    Temperature rated from -31°F to 140 °F

    Humidity rated between 10 and 95%.


    Lens

    fixed lens

    Fixed: 2.8mm
    110° of coverage

    Digital Zoom Only

    Learn about the 4 types of Zoom


    Day/Night

    night footage

    Infrared night vision up to 100 FT

    Color video possible until 0.02 lux

    How to get the best footage at night


    Special

    special features

    Digital Wide Dynamic Range

    Seeing in shadows: Understanding WDR



  2. Window Open / Close Alarm Sensor for SCW Shield - 74WOS

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $29.99

    Don't give a thief a 60 second head start to enter your home.

    Unlike our competitors, we don't think door and window sensors are the same thing. We have specific window sensors, that alert the second the window is cracked.


    Actions


    Alerts Immediately - No 60 second delay.

    Siren, App Alerts, and Pro Monitoring when Armed (including Away, Stay, and Night modes)

    Open/Close status visible on Shield app

    Example Z-Wave Automation: turning your AC off when you open the window.


    Battery


    Averages 6 years


    5 year warranty


  3. Commercial Indoor Motion Sensor for SCW Shield - 74CIM

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $149.99

    UL, IC, and FCC Listed for Commercial Insurance


    Actions


    Siren, App Alerts, and Pro Monitoring when Armed and in Away Mode.

    It is more secure and you will have fewer false positives if you use door and window sensors.


    Battery


    Averages 3 years

    5 year warranty


  4. 3-in-1 Flood, Freeze, and Overheat Sensor for SCW Shield - 74FFO

    Special Order.
    This item is available through special order. Small orders will typical ship in 3-5 business days. Large orders will take additional time. Please contact us before purchasing.

    $64.99

    Environmental Sensors require Smart Monitoring.


    Detects


    Water/Flood

    Cold/Freeze

    High Heat


    Alerts


    Primarily used for triggering home automation events.

    Convenient App Alerts - without triggering Pro Monitoring!

    Example Z-Wave Automation: turning off your water valve when detecting a leak.


    Battery


    Averages 10 years


    5 year warranty


  5. Pin Pad for SCW Shield - 74PIN

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $49.99

    Each SCW Shield Hub comes with a pin pad.

    SCW Shield can support up to 8 total pin pads, so you can put one near each door.


    Arm/Disarm


    Disarm your SCW Shield with a Secure, 4-digit Code

    1-button arming

    Red/Green LED arming feedback

    Apps, pin pads, and keyfobs: How do I disarm my SCW Shield Alarm?


    Home Automation


    Example Z-Wave Automation: arming the system (by pin pad, app, or key fob) could turn your foyer lights off, turn our oven off, and set your thermostat to power saving mode.

    Example Z-Wave Automation: disarming the system (by pin pad, app, or key fob) could turn your foyer lights on, set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature, and turn on a wall plug for your favorite music player.


    Battery


    Averages 4-6 years


    5 year warranty


  6. 3-in-1 Smoke, Fire, and Temperature Sensor for SCW Shield - 74SFT

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $99.99

    Environmental Sensors require Smart Monitoring.


    Detects


    Smoke (Photoelectric)

    Heat

    Abrupt Temperature Increases

    One of the only Fire Sensors that can be used in the kitchen!

    Where should I put carbon monoxide and smoke detectors?


    Alerts


    Integrated Siren

    Contacts the Central Monitoring Station Immediately and Sends Fire Rescue.

    Does not send an alert or wait for your response, as smoke or fire can make people non-responsive.


    Battery


    Averages 10 years


    5 year warranty

    Don't let burning toast spoil your day! Our 3-in-1 sensor allows you to turn off the smoke function and just use the Heat and Rate-of-Rise Temperature feature, so that cooking mishaps doesn't set off your siren and send the fire department!”



  7. Glassbreak Sensor for SCW Shield - 74GBS

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $99.00


    Detects


    The Sound of Glass Breaking

    Range of 4-25 feet

    When would I use motion sensors, glass break sensors, vs. windows open sensors?


    Actions


    Siren, App Alerts, and Pro Monitoring when Armed (including Away, Stay, and Night modes)

    Example Z-Wave Automation: turn on all the lights to scare away intruders.


    Battery


    Averages 4-6 years


    5 year warranty


  8. Door Open / Close Alarm Sensor for SCW Shield - 74DOS

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $29.99

    Not an eyesore: Half the size of most other door sensors!


    Actions


    Allows you 60 seconds to enter your code into the pin pad before alert

    Siren, App Alerts, and Pro Monitoring when Armed (including Away, Stay, and Night modes)

    Open/Close status visible on Shield app

    Example Z-Wave Automation: turning on your foyer lights when you enter the door.


    Battery


    Averages 6 years


    5 year warranty


  9. The Warrior 8.0 - 26BF8 - 4K (8MP = 4x1080P) Fixed Lens Mini Bullet Camera

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $250.00


    Resolution

    4K UHD

    4K @ 15 FPS; 3840 × 2160

    Detect: 175 ft
    Recognize: 125 ft
    Identify: 75 ft


    4MP vs 4K


    Weather

    weatherproof

    IP67
    Full protection from dust, rain, snow, dew, frost, and sprinklers.

    You can even submerge it for a few minutes.


    Temp

    temperature rating

    Temperature rated from -22°F to 140 °F

    Humidity rated between 10 and 95%.


    Lens

    fixed lens

    Fixed: 4mm
    92° of coverage

    Digital Zoom Only

    Learn about the 4 types of Zoom


    Day/Night

    night footage

    Infrared night vision up to 100 FT

    Larger image sensor for low light

    Color video possible until 0.001 lux

    How to get the best footage at night


    Special

    special features

    Digital Wide Dynamic Range

    Seeing in shadows: Understanding WDR



  10. The Radius 12.0 - 26P12 - 12MP 360° Fisheye Dome Camera

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $899.00


    Resolution

    12MP

    Unconventional Aspect Ratio!

    6MP @ 25 FPS: 3008*3000

    12MP @ 15 FPS: 4000*3000


    Weather

    weatherproof

    IP66
    Full protection from dust, rain, snow, dew, frost, and sprinklers.

    You can wash it off with a hose.


    Temp

    temperature rating

    Temperature rated from -22°F ~ 140°F

    Humidity rated between 10 and 95%.


    Lens

    varifocal lens

    Fisheye: 1.8mm
    360° of coverage


    Day/Night

    night footage

    Infrared night vision up to 65 FT

    Color video possible until 0.06 lux

    How to get the best footage at night


    Special

    special features

    Micro-SD Card Slot

    Built-in microphone & speaker, two-way talk supported

    Up to five stream options

    1 Full Res Fisheye OR 1 Fisheye & 4 ePTZs OR 1 Fisheye and 1 Panorama

    IK10

    Digital WDR

    Seeing in shadows: Understanding WDR



  11. The Lookout 2.0 - 26ZV - 2MP (1080P) IP PTZ Camera with 30x Optical Zoom

    In stock.
    Usually ships the same business day if ordered before 2PM EST.

    $799.00


    Resolution

    1080p HD

    1080P @ 30 FPS; 1920 x 1080

    Detect: 1000 ft
    Recognize: 900 ft
    Identify: 800 ft


    Processing Power and Compression: Not All 1080P Cameras are Created Equal


    Indoor/Outdoor

    weatherproof

    IP66
    Full protection from dust, rain, snow, dew, frost, and sprinklers.

    You can even wash them off with a hose.


    Temp

    temperature rating

    Extreme Cold Temperature rated from -40°F to 140 °F

    Humidity rated between up to 90%.


    Lens

    ptz lens

    Motorized PTZ Varifocal: 4.5 - 135mm
    63° - 2° of coverage

    Digital Zoom and Optical Zoom

    Learn about the 4 types of Zoom


    Day/Night

    night footage

    Infrared night vision up to 300 FT

    Color video possible until 0.03 lux

    How to get the best footage at night


    Special

    special features

    Audio Input and Output
    Audio Input/Output FAQ

    Digital Wide Dynamic Range

    Pan: 360° (endless) rotation
    Tilt: -15° ~ +90° (auto reverse)

    Seeing in shadows: Understanding WDR



  12. Easy to Install
    Hides in plain sight
    Comes with battery backup
    No phone line needed - uses the internet connection you already have
    Arm/Disarm with SCW Shield App, Keypad, or Key Fob
    Includes one Pin Pad
    Works with SCW Intrusion Sensors
    1500 foot sensor range