The most common questions we get about church security, church violence, and church safety.
Should churches implement a safety and security plan/team?

Yes. No matter what size, location or denomination a church is, they should have some type of safety and security plan in place.

Should all churches rise to a level of safety and security to allow firearms in their church?

No. Each church has to evaluate their needs , as to what type or level safety and security plan they may need.

Can a church be held criminally or civilly liable for any actions that are taken by a safety or security member(s)?

Yes. When a church authorizes, implements or sanctions a safety and security plan/ team they may be held criminally or civilly liable for actions taken by a safety and security member(s).

Can a church prevent or reduce exposure to criminal or civil liability from allegations of wrongdoing?

Yes. A church should have a selection process board, that includes congregational (including law enforcement officers who may attend the church) members and church leadership to identify potential safety and security members. Not everyone is a potential safety and security member.

Are there different types of safety and security plans that can be implemented or used during church services or events?

Yes. 1st on duty local law enforcement agency. 2nd off duty law enforcement officers. 3rd private security company. 4th state certified church created private security. 4th volunteer church security that are well and continuously trained with policy and procedures to guide their actions and insured.

What is law enforcement’s response time to church violent incidents?

First, a national study was done relating to law enforcement response time. That study revealed that the average response time for law enforcement in the U. S. was 10 minutes. Servants & Watchmen Ministry study, when it was actually known or could be estimated, showed that the high percentage of law enforcement response to church violence is less than 5 minutes and no greater than 10 minutes.

Do congregational members intervene when church violence occurs in their church?

Yes. Congregational members, those churches that implement a safety and security plan/team, or on/off duty law enforcement officers will intervene during a church violence incident.

Will the suspect of church violence be a member of the church?

No. Servants & Watchmen Ministry data shows that overwhelmingly the suspect will not be a church member.

Will the victim(s) of church violence be a member of the church?

Servants & Watchmen Ministry data shows that overwhelmingly the victim(s) will be a church member.

Is church violence on a rise or decline?

There is no private, local, state or federal entity that adequately tracks, classifies or records specifically church related violence. Therefore, it is difficult to say with absolute authority if church related violence is on the rise or decline. Although Servants and Watchmen Ministry has documented, as of July 2015, 566 church service and non-service lethal and non-lethal incidents. This data does not show any drastic rise or decline in church related violence, but between 2007 and 2014 an average 66.6 incidents per year. One must be cautious in interpreting the rise or decline of church violence, as there is no uniform standard in defining or collecting such data to make an accurate prediction and church violence is underreported. This does not mean accurate data is not collected by church security entities, but there are many different ways that data is collected, interpreted and defined.

Does the U.S. Government recognize that church violence exists?

Yes. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published in June 2013, Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Houses of Worship. Quote from publication, “Many people think of a house of worship as a safe area where violence and emergencies cannot affect them. However, violence in houses of worship is not a new phenomenon. In addition to violent acts, fires, tornados, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and arson also affect houses of worship. With many incidents occurring with little to no warning, many houses of worship are developing and updating plans and procedures to ensure the safety and security of their congregations, staff, and facilities.”

What are the 3 primary motives related to church violence?

Service related motives:

  1. Domestic Violence
  2. Robbery
  3. Church Disruption by Non-Member


Non- service motives:

  1. Robbery
  2. Domestic Violence/Dispute
  3. Gang-Related
What type of lethal weapon is used during church violence incidents?

Overwhelmingly, handguns.

What percentage of church related violence are hate crimes?

A very small percentage of church related violence is classified as a hate crime.


All of the above information was the result of Servants & Watchmen Ministry tracking/study of church related violence. By no means does Servants & Watchmen Ministry discredit any other tracking/study of church violence, as each entity has adopted their own method and criteria for tracking in their study.

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