Five ways to keep your building secure
Nonprofit & Human Service Organizations, Senior Living Communities, Schools, Camps, Houses of Worship 04/26/2023
Every organization would like to believe its facility is safe from crime, but plenty of details can get overlooked when you are developing a security plan for your building. Of course, there are many elements to crime prevention, but we have developed a list of steps you should take to keep your building secure.
- Conduct background checks and more. Every employee should undergo a criminal background check before starting with your organization. But background checks alone aren’t necessarily enough to identify people who may be a security risk. You should also take special care with:
- Applications – Consider asking open-ended questions to get an idea of the person’s character.
- References – Ask each candidate to provide two or three references. Before calling the references, prepare a list of questions that asks about the person’s defining characteristics.
- Interview – An interview is the best way to get to know a candidate and why they want to be involved with your organization.
- Light up your outside. Darkness breeds criminal activity, so make sure your parking lot, sidewalks and doors are well-lit. Establish a schedule for checking bulbs; if a criminal notices a burnt-out light, they could view that as an invitation to invade your property.
- Be aware of potential threats. Building security isn’t just about keeping doors and windows locked and entryways lit—it also involves keeping your eyes and ears open for anyone who might cause harm. Regularly view and review social media relating to your organization. Keep informed about issues both inside and outside the organization that may lead to threats, such as disgruntled employees, community unrest or domestic issues.
- Partner with your local law enforcement agencies. Ask them to participate in security and violence prevention planning with your organization. Provide these agencies with maps of your facility and ask them to include your building in their regular patrols.
- Limit visitor access to your building. If you are a school, all doors should be locked during the day and visitors should be required to sign in to gain access to the building. Other facilities may not need to be quite so strict about allowing visitors into the building, but it should never be easy for someone to slip unnoticed into your facility. For a house of worship, where a visitor may wish to pray on their own, there should be a sign-in procedure so you have a record of anyone who was in the building.
You can never fully anticipate what kinds of security challenges you may encounter, but you can at least take these basic steps to keep your people and building safe.
For more valuable information and resources that can help you reduce your risks and deter the threat of crime visit our security and crime prevention page.