Early morning on July 18, 2018, a teacher at a church in Newport Beach arrived at work to find pieces of two 28-year-old stained glass windows scattered across the ground. With bricks, rocks and other debris skewed throughout the scene, police suspected vandalism.

Church vandalism happens more often than you think. Just a simple Google News search of the term reveals over 100,000 reports. Fortunately, there are security measures you can take to keep vandals from targeting your institution. Below, we’ve listed three security items you can use to protect your worship space.

1. Install a Surveillance System

Surveillance systems are an effective solution for catching vandals. Just last month, police arrested a 15-year-old boy after a security camera caught him vandalizing the outside of a church in Arizona.

When installing a surveillance system, proper placement is key. Consider positioning your cameras in the following places:

  • Above all facility entrances and exits.
  • In common rooms.
  • Overlooking parking lots and garages.
  • Throughout the perimeter of the property.

Although a surveillance system might not prevent vandalism completely, it will help deter vandals and also provide the evidence to help police in their investigation.

2. Increase Outdoor Lighting

Darkness provides cover for vandals looking to damage your worship space. Consider installing lights around your building's exterior (walkways, parking lots, entrances and exits) to prevent vandalism.

You can even take security a step further and install motion-activated lights. These lights automatically turn on every time they detect movement. If a vandal trips a motion detector as they approach your place of worship, lights will illuminate and stop the person in their tracks.

3. Use Sensors

Door and window-break sensors add an extra layer of security to your place of worship. These devices latch on to doors and windows and sound an audible alarm every time a door is opened, or the sound of glass breaking is detected. These sensors function similarly to a car alarm, but for your worship space. Once a vandal trips the sensors, audible and visual alarms activate and an alert is sent to you and the police.

No matter your faith, your worship space is a sanctuary that needs to be protected. Always work with a trusted security provider to ensure all corners of your facility are secured.