News Story
Posted by Transylvania County on February 16, 2022

 

What steps has your church taken to reduce the opportunities for arson? Are you confident that you have done all you can and that, as a result, your chances of suffering an arson event are minimized? Invest a few minutes now with this summary to start thinking about what you can do to protect your church and its community.

 

Why Burn Churches?  Reasons for attacks include: hatred, bigotry, malicious vandalism, shock value/media coverage, religious intolerance/differences, mental illness, monetary or financial reasons, and it’s an easy target since it is unoccupied most of the time

 

Whatever the reason, fire and bombing attacks are occurring at houses of worship. Don’t wait for the sky to fall, or in this case, the fire to start, act to prevent arson now.  Most think, “our chances of being hit are low.”   People naturally want to think they are safe, so they look to data to prove it to themselves. Thankfully, there are only about 103 events against churches each year nationwide.  But, the question you must ask yourselves as a congregation is this, “Are you prepared for the devastation an arson event can cause to property and the spiritual well-being of your church community?”  Think of arson prevention like preventive maintenance or insurance.

 

Make Your Church Less Inviting – to Arsonists Churches are meant to be attractive, inviting, open to all who wish to come and worship, learn, heal, and enrich their lives. Things that make a church welcoming and spiritually soothing can also be perfect cover for an arsonist; subdued exterior lighting, lush landscaping against church buildings, and more. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) thinks arson attacks against houses of worship is serious enough that they dedicated the 2018 Annual Arson Awareness Week to these facilities.

 

The USFA suggest houses of worship concentrate their prevention efforts in three areas:

            • External security:  Lighting, landscaping, combustible materials management

• Internal security: Smoke/fire alarms, sprinkler systems, window and door locks

            • Awareness: Congregation & community

 

You may have some measures in place now. You may be able to incorporate others into existing church activities.  Community awareness arson prevention efforts can bring groups together in ways that do more than just make houses of worship less attractive targets for arsonists.  Awareness is a key ingredient for effective prevention. Now that you are aware act to keep your church from offering the attractive, soft target arsonists seek.  Source: Sheepdog Church Security