Season 4, Episode 8 - Embezzlement From Churches, Recent Incidents

In this episode we are talking about three recent embezzlement incidents from churches that have recently come to light in three different churches.

The first discussion includes information from an embezzlement case which has all the components that we are consistently talking about causing problems for churches.  In this incident this bookkeeper does the church financials at home, the credit card and bank statements are mailed to her home also.   She directly tells police that the reason she decided to steal money was because NO ONE ELSE EVER LOOKED AT THE CHURCH BOOKS !!!   

She stole from the church by charging credit card purchases that were personal to the church credit card and by writing herself checks and cashing checks.

Two more incidents are also discussed in this video blog one is another bookkeeper who is caught because she is also found to be stealing from a housing association account and one is a church school administrator who steals a large sum from the ministry's school. 

Season 4, Episode 7 - Three Recent Gun Incidents at Churches

In this episode we are talking about three recent gun incidents that occurred at churches in Tennessee, California and Washington.

The first incident occurred November 16, 2017.  In Tellico Plains, TN.  The incident occurred during a Thursday meeting at the church.  Those in attendance of this luncheon started talking about bringing guns to church and having guns in church.  One of the meeting attendees started talking about carrying his pistol with him and ended up pulling his gun out and showing it to someone at the meeting, then put it back in his pocket.  Then another person wanted to see the gun and as he pulled it out again, he put his finger on the trigger and the gun went off.   The bullet struck his hand and his wife who was in a wheel chair next to him.  Both survived their gunshot wounds.

Next, was an shooting that occurred in Fresno, California on November 5, 2017.  A woman and her new boyfriend attended the 7:30 am mass at the church.  Upon leaving and walking to their car in the back parking lot, they were both shot by the estrange husband of the woman.   They estranged husband then went home and committed suicide.

The last gun incident we are talking about in this episode occurred October 1, 2017 in Blaine, Washington.  A 33 year old man walked up to the Dakota Creek Christian Center and was wearing a tactical looking vest that had a flare gun attached to it.   He became upset and a bit of a confrontation developed with persons at the church, the man was also talking about ISIS and beheadings.   The man was asked to leave the church and he did.  Police were called and he was arrested down the road from the church.

Get more details and hear further discussion in our podcast or video blog above.

Season 4, Episode 6 - Five Ways To Tighten Church Security

In this episode we are talking about 5 ways we can tighten up our church operations and our church security.   First, we are talking about being more controlled with the concept of "hours of operation".   The idea of tightening up when meetings and people are allowed in the church and then when it needs to be locked up. 

Next we start talking about the concept of communication with our members, via text or email.  Some churches are working on this for marketing purposes, but we are looking at this relative to event information, but also notifying people of problems and emergencies in the ministry environment.  Text is really the more popular mode of communication these days and there are programs out there for broadcasting texts.   We will explore those more in the future.

Keying your doors and buildings with a little more purpose is our next thought.  Trying to control how many keys we give out and then maybe looking at getting locking systems for limited doorways where a person could use a code instead of being assigned a key.  This could help us control access points and maybe even be able to put cameras on these special entrances to help us monitor them and monitor the security of our building.

Also just a quick mention of two of the biggest issues facing our ministry.......burglary to our churches, including theft of things like music equipment, sound systems, computers and other ceremonial objects.   We also remind you in this episode that parking lot theft is a big problem at churches across our nation, we should remind our members to lock their vehicles and not leave valuables in their vehicles.    And then we give you a few tips on keeping watch over your facilities including, get the neighbors, postal personnel and others working in the area to watch out for your church and report anything suspicious to you or police.

Season 4, Episode 5 - Background Checks And A Tip Line

This is a 2 part episode, in the first part we are talking about background checks.  Background screening is one of the most important steps you can take to protect your ministry from crimes such as fraudtheft and sexual misconduct.   

Background checks are not a replacement for having 2 people involved in the children's classrooms or 2 people involved in the monies that the church has been entrusted with.   

According to Barna Research churches are not doing a great job of consistency when it comes to screening volunteers and paid staff.   Only 38% of churches are actually doing a good job of being consistent with background checks.

Who should we be screening?  The recommendation is people who are in positions involving the children, the elderly, vulnerable populations and church funds.   We also talk about the basic costs and other considerations when doing background checks. 

Season 4, Episode 4 - Security Age Cap, ISIS Threats & Hiring Security

In this episode of the Church Security Answer Man we are talking about several important items.  First, we are talking about age caps for security.  The reason for this discussion is we have been receiving emails asking us about where to utilize our great older volunteers and we receive email from people asking about what they can do as an older person.   

So in this discussion we talk about using them in positions where they are not likely to have to confront a fight or shoot situation.  Watching the parking lots, watching the doorways and being there to follow people who are locking or unlocking for ministry events.

Next, we discuss ISIS threats to attack churches.  It seems that they are always talking about attacking American churches, so we are talking in this episode about the validity of those threats and what we should do.

Finally in this episode we talk about hiring someone to watch over our churches relative to violence.   We can hire security officers and in some regions you can even hire a police officer to stand outside or inside of your church.

Listen to our audio podcast or video blog for more in-depth information on these topics.

Season 4, Episode 3: Texas Church Shooting - Part 2

In this episode of the Church Security Answer Man podcast and video blog, we are talking about the shooting at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas, which occurred on Sunday, November 5, 2017.   Included in this post you will find both discussion links below (Audio and Video).   We are not going to address the shooter by name in our discussions, as we do not want to bring more publicity to this person, we will only refer to him as "the shooter".

In part 2 of our discussion of the Texas Church shooting, we are looking at what events during the shooting we can learn from.   The shooting began approximately 20 minutes into the Sunday morning service.  The shooter had been seen dressed in tactical gear at the gas station across from the church.   

The shooter drove to the front area of the church, got out and began firing at the church entrance area, then moved to shooting the side of the church.  We then discuss the details in our show of the actual shooting inside the church, including the fact that there was a total of 450 rounds fired, 26 people were killed and 20 injured during the 7 minute violent rampage inside the church.   Listen to our audio or video blog for further discussion on these details.

Our conclusions include continuing the discussion of a screening person around the front door, front sidewalks and parking areas.  The opinions shared include needing someone to be on watch during our services, as much as we can find from our volunteer pool.


Season 4, Episode 2 - Texas Church Shooting - Part 1

In this episode of the Church Security Answer Man podcast and video blog, we are talking about the shooting at the Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas, which occurred on Sunday, November 5, 2017.   Included in this post you will find both discussion links below (Audio and Video).   We are not going to address the shooter by name in our discussions, as we do not want to bring more publicity to this person, we will only refer to him as "the shooter".

So we are focused in this episode about some of the pre-attack information, the facts that occurred with the shooter and others around him.    Some of the incidents we note are that the shooter had been previously arrested for beating his wife and step-son and was jailed for these incidents.  We was also the suspect in the beating of a dog, 3 to 4 years prior to the shooting at the church.

There are also reports that he sexually assaulted someone in this same time frame.  People around him described him as full of hatred and demons.  In 2012, there are reports that he was placed in a mental health facility for making death threats against his military chain of command.

In the days prior to the shooting at the church, the shooter was texting threats to his mother-in law, she was not in attendance the day of the shooting.

What we can learn from this pre-attack information, I believe is that we should be more attentive to information that is going on relative to violence in and around our people and communities.   I am not critical of the people at the Sutherland Springs church, but I do want to learn from this incident.

I am suggesting that we pay attention to indicators of violence, and maybe we even set up a way that people can communicate tips about violence in their families, or members of the church or people in the community.  I suggest in this episode that we have an usher or security person who is noted in the bulletin or church service as a contact for any of this information.  The contact person should not be the minister or counselor if at all possible as we discuss in the show.

We should always be paying attention to the area around our church entrance, including the sidewalks and parking lots.  It is most efficient to place a "screener" at the front door of the church who can watch all of these areas and great potential problem people and tactfully not allow them into the church if there is a problem

Season 4, Episode 1: What Do We Do Now

We are kicking off the new season of the Church Security Answer Man podcast and because of multiple requests, we are adding a video blog.   So you can now listen to the audio on the go via iTunes or the audio link here on the site and now you can actually watch the simple video of our discussion also.   You will find both links below (Audio and Video).

So our discussion this week is focused on the notes we have been receiving, about some big concerns from security folks on what to do after the recent horrific shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.

In this episode we talk about statistics and that because there are 350,000 churches in the United States, you are still unlikely to encounter an active shooter at your church.  However, we still have to be prepared for the incident, because if it does happen and you have no plans to deal with it, many people can be killed or injured.  We also discuss that the days are over of saying we are in a small church and that stuff won't happen here, because we have several small churches recently who have had active shooter situations.

We also talk in this episode about getting prepared for likely incidents, over just focusing on the active shooter.  We also mention that starting with a safety team might help our leaders get more comfortable later on when we talk about preparing for an active shooter situation.  So we are focused on small steps in this issue rather than panic, in this face of these terrible incidents.


Season 2: Episode 5: Church Violence Prevention Strategies and Risks

In this episode we are talking about violence risk factors both external and internal.   Those factors included include working alone/being alone at the church, working around the ministry at night, working with the offerings/money, working in high crime areas and dealing with people.   We also make some comparisons of how these work in our analysis of our real situations, potential situations and then what we can do to minimize some of these risks as strategies.

Season 2, Episode 3: Five Recent Ministry Incidents

This week we are talking about incidents that have happened recently within our ministries.  Two of the topics discussed are about 2 different elderly women who were assaulted at churches, one while opening up a church in California and the other while gardening around the outside of the church in South Carolina.  Both were alone at the church when attacked.  In this episode we will also talk about 3 people who embezzled over $335,000 from a church in North Carolina, a theft spree from churches in New York and a shooting at a very small church in Alabama.