How do you balance the ability to maintain a peaceful and welcoming milieu of a Faith-Based Organization facility while hardening the “target” that has become the American church/synagogue/temple/etc.?

  1. How do you balance the ability to maintain a peaceful and welcoming milieu of a Faith-Based Organization facility while hardening the “target” that has become the American church/synagogue/temple/etc.? 

It is quite challenging to balance the aspect of enforcing vital security measure and creating a peaceful and friendly environment in Faith-Based Organizations such as churches, temples, and synagogues among other places of worship. However, though worshipers may view many security details as being extreme and somehow bothering, the security of congregants in Faith-Based organizations cannot be overlooked at any expense. Currently, there are many cases of criminal and terrorist activities affecting Faith-Based Organizations facilities.  Therefore, putting in place proper security measure would assure worshipers of their safety and protection during hours of worship.

  • What types of physical security technologies and/or strategies could be implemented that would be less obtrusive for parishioners?

As a result of increased use of complex tool in conducting terrorist and criminal activities, there is need to use current high level technology in places of worship to protect worshipers from such activities.  This should include creation of inspection bay in the main entrance where worshipers should pass through vital security processes to ensure all criminal elements are eliminated. In addition, it is important to have installation of CCTV cameras, inside and outside the building in order to be able to monitor people inside and outside the building. It is also necessary to have metal detector machines in the entrance in order to capture criminals or terrorist carrying dangerous weapons.  In addition, there is need to engage local police officers to beef up security during worship hours.

  • How would you build buy-in for such security enhancements to a house of worship within a faith-based community?

 Terrorist and criminal elements take advantage of the places of worship because they are considered places where anyone can enter for worship purposes. A significant approach that would build buy-in for security enhancements in Faith-Based Organizations would be through creating awareness among the worshipers on importance of allowing security enhancement and cooperating with vital security processes. Using examples of attacks carried out on other places of worship would also provide a vital basis to build buy-in for necessary security enhancements.

  • What similarities / differences can be drawn from the protection of Faith-Based Organization facilities as compared to other U.S. Critical Infrastructure locations? 

There are huge differences and hardly any similarity when comparing security measure in Faith-based organization and other critical infrastructure in United States. However, with the increased cases of criminal and terrorist activities happening in places of worship, many Faith Based Organizations are engaging vital security measures to protect their congregation. However, in most cases the measures employed are inadequate to assure worshipers of their security and safety. Federal and public buildings have high-level security and monitoring technology such as facial recognition technology, burglarproof systems and high-tech fencing.