Faith Watch: Crime Prevention for Houses of Worship
The Lynchburg Faith Watch initiative helps our faith community create safer worship environments by implementing crime prevention strategies and policies. The goal of Faith Watch is to help reduce opportunities for crime by offering security assessments and guidance in the development of crisis management plans for all Houses of Worship located within the City of Lynchburg. As the leaders of the various places of worship are “on watch” for ways to reduce crime and mitigate problems, they can create safer campuses and outreach ministries for their congregations.
Providing a safe and secure environment for faith-based communities is very similar to other security planning. However, it must be respectful to the congregation’s desire to be welcoming while still protecting the congregants through heightened security measures.
Any church, synagogue, mosque or faith-based ministry in Lynchburg can contact the Crime Prevention Specialist at 434-455-6145 to schedule a FREE security assessment of their campus.
The security assessment will help identify vulnerabilities in your physical security, and offer suggestions to improve safety policies and procedures. During a Security Assessment, the physical buildings and grounds will be reviewed to check for problems and offer suggestions for improvement. Policies related to access control, nursery and children’s ministry safety measures, money collection and handling, etc. will be discussed with the “best practices” recommended. The development of a safety team and planning for crisis events such as an active shooter are included in the crisis management discussions also.
Every house of worship or ministry outreach needs to take time to plan and prepare for any type of crisis. A crisis could range from any type of natural disaster like a tornado to an accident involving a ministry vehicle, or even an attempted child abduction by a non-custodial parent. There are many good resources available on the internet to help with crisis planning.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has good information for vulnerability mitigation and a thorough security self-assessment.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, also has good information for faith based communities on emergency plans, preparedness, security planning, and preventing human trafficking.
Please contact Cindy Kozerow, Crime Prevention Specialist, at email@example.com or 434-455-6145 if you have questions about security or crisis planning, or would like to have training for your staff or congregation on any crime prevention topic.
One Community One Voice – Lynchburg
This group’s purpose is to work with underprivileged communities to help improve police and community relationships. The mission is to build an empowered community, based on information, opportunities, and building relationships with God. It is a police and community partnership that works together to help build positive relationships with the police, address needs of impoverished citizens, and provide education and resources to them. This unique program welcomes members of all faiths, sharing a common goal of helping one another, to show love and kindness and focus on the unifying aspects of our different religious heritages.
The OCOV-L group meets on the 1st Thursday of every month at Living Word Ministries, 825 Taylor Street. Pastor James Camm is the group’s leader, and members of the LPD attend to provide crime statistical information and answer questions. For more information call Pastor Camm at (434) 845-4700, the Community Action Team at (434) 455-6173 or visit One Community One Voice on Facebook.