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The City of Portland, Oregon

Community & Civic Life

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1221 SW 4th Ave, Suite 110, Portland, OR 97204

Crime Prevention at Your Place of Worship

Communities of Faith Meeting

Photo: Training for NW faith groups with the Crime Prevention Program,

Portland Police Bureau, District Attorney's Office

Have security measures been implemented at your place of worship? Do they include a range of considerations from burglary prevention, staff and volunteer background checks, key control to protocols for a crisis on site?

Security can sometimes be an afterthought for communities of faith. Staff and volunteers are often stretched thin with multiple obligations. Some congregants may feel that security imposes barriers to connecting, creating a welcoming place and helping others. However, providing a safe environment for staff, members and guests is just as an important function as providing for the various needs of the community. 

“The built environment incentivizes or discourages bad behavior”, said Jacob Brostoff, Crime Prevention Coordinator, at a recent meeting with NW faith groups. Incorporating security measures into the design, improvement, and maintenance of the property can help prevent crime and livability issues. Consider some of the following steps:

  • Make your property more visible so that problem activities can be observed by staff, members, guests, and neighbors. 
  • Improve the security hardware and take other measures to prevent criminal access, especially to entry points and vulnerable areas of your property. 
  • Define where your property begins and establish expectations of its use. 

Work with your organization’s staff to evaluate the overall security of your property. Portland groups can contact the City of Portland's Crime Prevention Program for assistance.We have recently created a security checklist for Communities of Faith. You can find it here: 

City of Portland's Crime Prevention Program