Reduce the Threat of Church Arson

Proactive measures can help avoid fires

When arson is the cause of a fire, congregations feel especially victimized. Reduce the threat of arson by following these steps:

  1. Install central station fire and burglar alarm systems that result in the deployment of law and fire enforcement officials.
  2. Install adequate dawn-to-dusk or motion-sensitive exterior lighting around the building. Pay particular attention to entrances. Mount fixtures out of reach of people who might disable the lights to avoid detection.
  3. Whenever possible, landscape buildings to eliminate hiding areas close to the building. This is most important near windows and doors that provide points of access to the building.
  4. Secure windows, basement entries, and external stairways.
  5. Be alert to and monitor people who may be disgruntled and likely to retaliate by damaging church property.
  6. Ask local police to patrol your property as often as possible during the evening hours. You might also ask local law and fire enforcement officials to inspect your premises and give advice on how to thoroughly secure your building.
  7. Ask church members to take a more active role in protecting the property.
  8. Enlist the support of the neighborhood. Perhaps you, as a local church, could sponsor a neighborhood watch program to benefit anyone in the area.
  9. Coordinate any details concerning a watch program with local law enforcement. Do not allow participants to confront strangers or carry firearms.
  10. Compile a list of individuals who have access to church keys. Limit the number of people on the list and recalibrate locks if any keys are lost or stolen.
  11. Keep all flammable liquids in approved containers and secured under lock and key.

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