Church Security: Video Surveillance Considerations

Thursday, May 12, 2016 by under Monitoring, Video Surveillance

In 2014, U.S. faith-based organizations reported 176 deadly force incidents. To keep places of worship sacred, and members, staff and valuables protected, consider IP surveillance cameras.

Surveillance cameras provide enhanced visibility through 24/7 monitoring, and the ability to live stream video footage to your smartphone, tablet or laptop. This lets you uncover suspicious activity in real time for proactive remediation.

If installing security cameras at your faith-based institution, follow these best practices to secure valuable assets, protect your congregation and meet legal requirements.

Tips for Proper Placement

Every faith-based institution will have its own unique needs, layout and valuables. It’s best to work with a security vendor to assess your vulnerabilities prior to installing security camera equipment. That said, common camera placement locations include:

  • Any areas where money is collected and stored.
  • Classrooms.
  • Coat rooms.
  • Near custom and stained glass windows.
  • High-traffic areas.
  • Nurseries or quiet rooms.
  • Near or outside entryways or exits.
  • Parking lots or garages.
  • Near relics, icons and valuable artwork.
  • Offices.
  • Sanctuaries.

Camera features needed will vary by church. Work with a security partner to determine the image quality, storage capabilities and camera types best suited for your building. Remember, too, that by pairing cameras with alarm systems and access control solutions, event-based notifications can alert you when something unusual occurs.

Understand Legal Considerations

Faith-based institutions face unique privacy expectations. In addition, privacy and image/recording usage laws vary depending on city and state, so it is important you understand the regulations specific to your business’ location. A few tips to ensure compliance with privacy laws include:

  • Do not install cameras in areas of assumed privacy, such as bathrooms and confessionals.
  • Post signs notifying individuals that they are being recorded.
  • Select a licensed video surveillance equipment vendor that is up-to-date on local building codes and jurisdictional requirements.

How do you keep your place of worship safe from harm? Share in the comments.

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