Why Motion Detection and Access Control Benefit Places of Worship

With their open door policies and reputations as sanctuaries for all, places of worship can be relied upon as a safe haven in a community. Sadly, however, open-door policies can be both a blessing and a curse. Burglars like to take advantage of the inherent trust associated with places of worship, and the fact that they can gain access whenever they want compounds the issue. Many places of worship store items like gold and silver plated religious pieces, expensive AV equipment and even cold hard cash inside the facility.

Why Motion Detection and Access Control Benefit Places of Worship

Don’t get too comfortable.

Often times, the security measures at a place of worship aren’t as professional as they should be. It’s common to find outdated security systems, loose deadbolt locks and a lack of security policies and procedures. One of the keys to a successful security approach (at any building) is simply never letting yourself becoming too comfortable.

As we mentioned, at a place of worship there are often people in the facility who arrive unexpectedly due to the open-door policy. While this is all well and good, there are always areas within the building that are off limits to the normal layperson or visitor. This is why security expert  , who is one of 130 security professionals worldwide to hold all three ASIS International board certifications in security accredited by the Department of Homeland Security, recommends implementing motion detection and access control security measures at places of worship.

The integrated system.

“You have to have motion detection in order to protect the facility in times when there are people there, also you may simply have certain areas that you want motion detection in,” McGuffey said. “There are certain rooms that nobody should be in, and you can always have an integrated system where it’s like, ‘alright, somebody sets off the motion sensor and a camera is activated, and then someone can look at the camera and see what’s going on.’ But, without motion detection, you almost have to have somebody there all the time. And that’s where an integrated system with cameras, access control and motion detection all work together with policies, procedures and well-trained personnel to make a truly effective protection system.”

As McGuffey explained, without motion detection, a church would have to have someone on the premises at all times and that’s simply not possible in most situations. Controlling access to a facility is a key component in physical security, yet as we’ve explained, it becomes very hard to properly control physical security when a building is open to the public. This is why a professional security approach that combines motion detection with access control and video surveillance can be most effective for a place of worship.

With the “integrated system” that McGuffey referenced, different aspects of a professional security system work together to create a highly effective security approach. Say, for example, that your place of worship stores all of the expensive religious items, AV equipment and donation money in one room.

Better to have too much than not enough.

Even if the door to that room is always locked, it’s still extremely vulnerable in a building that strangers walk in and out of on an hourly basis. With a room like this, one could install a professional security system that utilizes motion detection and access control. With electronic access control, you could require the swipe of a fob or an ID card to enter a storage room with high-value items. And, with a professionally installed CCTV video surveillance system integrated with motion detection, you could be alerted anytime someone is in the high-value room and also view a live feed of the room using remote access video technology.
This may seem like overkill to some, but you have to think about it like this: it’s much better to have and not need, than to need and not have. If someone were able to break into your place of worship’s high-value storage area and get away with cherished religious pieces, expensive equipment and even cash, not only would the physical loss of items be awful, but there would be a certain peace-of-mind missing from the place of worship after the crime.


Contact us to learn more about place of worship security solutions.