How Can We Protect our Places of Worship this Hate Crime Awareness Week
Saturday marked the start of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, an entire week dedicated to raising awareness of hate crimes in an effort to prevent them. Unfortunately, this annual week has become more important than ever after an incremental increase in hate crimes in recent years.
Places of worship have always been common targets for acts of hate crime, yet the turbulence of the global political climate has seen an increase in attacks against them. In July of this year the UK government announced their plans to increase funding for places of worship in an effort to combat the rising number of hate crimes. This was a logical move in the wake of a string of attacks against mosques, churches and other holy buildings in recent years. It’s less than a year since the mass shooting at a Texan church which resulted in 26 dead. But this is not an issue exclusive to one nation, it was only in 2016 when a French priest was murdered in his own church, and as recently as the 19th September when an individual ran down pedestrians outside a mosque in London.
Places of worship are particularly vulnerable to attacks like these as they open their doors to so many people without question every day. Mosques, synagogues and gurdwaras alike continually welcome all people into their sacred space without judgement, and while this is integral to the values of the religious community, it is clear that it makes these places at greater risk.
NVC value your safety, and don’t believe that places of worship should have to compromise their values in order to be safe, which is why this National Hate Crime Awareness Week we are sharing how to stay as secure as possible in your place of worship.
Taking these steps can help to increase the security of any place of worship:
- Be vigilant– ensure doors are securely locked and fully check the premises when entering and exiting
- Form a security committee– including members of the community in security plans will help everyone to stay informed and together help to reduce the risk of attack
- Fundraise to buy security equipment– as well as helping to subsidise the cost of security equipment, fundraising will help to raise awareness within the community of the importance of safety
- Invest in a CCTV system– not only will this help to prevent potential crimes, but in the unfortunate event of a crime, the offender will be more easily identified and brought to justice
- Install an alarm system– another easy way to deter potential criminals, the alarm system will also allow you to react quickly in the event of a crime
- Revisit and update your current emergency plan– always keeping your emergency plan up-to-date will give you the best chances of responding in the event of an attack, check the government website regularly to stay up-to-date with their most recent guidelines
- Arrange for local police services to make regular checks– the authorities will be able to advise on how your building safety could be improved as well as deterring criminals and giving you and your community the peace of mind, you deserve
- Install lighting to optimise visibility– fully lighting your building both from the inside and out will help to prevent criminals and provide you with a better view of your premises to identify any warning signs
- Enhance perimeter security– installing plant barriers and gates near entrances will make it more difficult for intruders to enter the premises
- Don’t panic in an emergency– perhaps most importantly, in the event of an emergency stay calm, doing so will help you to follow the emergency plans you have in place efficiently
NVC offer a range of professional security services and are waiting to help you increase the security of your place of worship. To discuss how we could help, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today on 01332 806996.
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