Church Mutual survey shows attendees’ greatest fear is now armed intruders in their places of worship
MERRILL, Wis. – In places of worship – the hallowed spaces that offer refuge and sanctuary – more than 1 in 10 Americans (12%) say they do not feel safe. Their top concern: 45% said they feared armed intruders.
These and other findings from the new Church Mutual House of Worship Safety and Security Study1 were released today by Church Mutual Insurance Company, the nation’s leading insurer of religious organizations. It is the first survey commissioned by the organization to examine Americans’ safety and security concerns related to their places of worship. Of the 2,001 consumers surveyed, more than half (51%) said that they regularly attend a church or house of worship.
“It’s deeply upsetting that today’s worshippers, regardless of religion, have to contend with the very real possibility of an armed intruder,” said Rich Poirier, Church Mutual president and CEO. “Even beyond churches, many organizations, from schools to offices and factories, are asking themselves, ‘What do we do if an armed intruder enters our facility?’”
Fear of armed intruders surpassed natural disasters (25%), cybersecurity breaches (11%) and even sexual misconduct (13%) as the top safety/security concern identified by the survey. Men who regularly attend worship services were significantly more concerned about all the potential threats facing houses of worship.
Preparing for the Unthinkable
When asked if their place of worship had implemented a prevention/response plan for armed intruders, 39% said “yes,” while 61% indicated “no/don’t know.” Survey respondents identified several ways that a house of worship could make attendees feel safer:
- 61% – communicate and educate on safety plans
- 56% – work with local law enforcement to prepare
- 55% – train staff and volunteers
- 51% – develop response plans
- 44% – increase physical security
“We know that people consider a safe and secure house of worship to be very important,” said Poirier. “And nothing undermines our fundamental sense of security than the possibility of violence. Our security experts recommend all organizations have a response plan in place, and we also have many resources and tools to help save lives.”
Church Mutual has created an armed intruder resource kit that’s available to anyone at no cost, on their website. It features videos, checklists, FAQs and important assessment and planning guides. To access the tools and information, visit: https://www.churchmutual.com/6421/Armed-Intruder.
About Church Mutual
Church Mutual Insurance Company, founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. Church Mutual markets most lines of commercial property and liability insurance, including multi-peril, workers' compensation and commercial auto insurance. In addition to insurance, Church Mutual provides a spectrum of value-added solutions that benefit its customers. Church Mutual holds the following honors:
- A.M. Best Company "A" (excellent) rating
- 2018 Ward’s 50 Top Performing Property and Casualty Insurers
- BenchmarkPortal Top 10 National Customer Service Center
- Wisconsin 75 by Deloitte US, 2016, 2017 and 2018
- Futuremakers Partner, by Wisconsin Technical College System
- Celent Model Insurer for innovation and emerging technologies
- Award in Innovation for entrepreneurialism and innovation, by National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
1Church Mutual Insurance Company conducted an online survey through SMS Research Advisors, The Church Mutual House of Worship Safety and Security Study from March 28 - April 1, 2019 with a nationally representative sample of 2,001 ages 18+.