Meetinghouse Security <wink>

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garylm-p40
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Meetinghouse Security <wink>

Postby garylm-p40 » Thu Jul 05, 2007 1:07 pm

We haven't had any problems with theft-related break-ins since they moved all the media equipment in the library to a locked closet. The Church unit computers were always so outdated that they were never a target. With the new batch of Dells, they've put bars on the clerk's windows.

Our problem has been mostly with parking lot thefts during the Sunday block and with meetinghouse vandalism, especially on Halloween. One year some kids broke in and pumpkin-ed the building. The movie screen in the multipurpose room had obscenities painted on it.

We've solved the Halloween problem by assigning people to watch the building all night.

We also have a lockup assignment to check the building every night after activities are concluded.

We still hear of one or two arson-started meetinghouse fires in the area each year.

Today Doug Wright, on his KSL radio talk show, was talking about the surveillance cameras in the U.K. that have been used to catch the Glasgow car bombers. He indicated that the U.K. has the highest concentration of surveillance cameras in the world, with one camera for every 14 people. Doug was lamenting the loss of privacy that comes with using surveillance cameras to thwart criminals.

I have no knowledge of any Church meetinghouse with a surveillance system or even an alarm system.

I know we have surveillance cameras on Temple Square downtown. Perhaps we have cameras at the other temples as well, but I haven't noticed them. A discussion here of other security measures in place at our temples would probably get me in trouble (again), as it may serve to compromise the effectiveness of those measures.

Will we ever see widespread use of surveillance and alarm systems on our meetinghouses?

I can see people saying that church attendance and church worship is a very private thing and that they wouldn't want their private devotions recorded or monitored. On the other hand, there have been instances in which child abductions, child abuse, theft, vandalism, and other crimes have taken place on Church property and might have been prevented or caught sooner if surveillance and security measures had been in place.

I don't want to violate any more forum rules by starting a heated debate or by appearing to have a desire to start a heated debate. I am wondering if tech can have a reasonable role in securing our meetinghouses.

russellhltn
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 05, 2007 7:33 pm

First the problem has to be big enough to justify the expense. That hasn't happened - at least for most buildings.

We did have a time when we had problems with car break-ins during the meetings. We assigned some brethren to watch the lot and it stopped.

Camera surveillance has come a long way. It used to be things were recorded on a very slow video tape that took a long time to find things. Nowadays with IP cameras and recording to the hard drive, it works much better.

But again, the problem has to be worth the expense - which is considerable. Of course, there are those fake cameras that might do the job for a fraction of the price.

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Postby thedqs » Thu Jul 05, 2007 8:45 pm

RussellHltn wrote:Of course, there are those fake cameras that might do the job for a fraction of the price.


You mean the sheetmetal boxes with black windows?
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Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:03 pm

thedqs wrote:You mean the sheetmetal boxes with black windows?


That's one version. I've seen others that have a camera lens on them and a light on the front. Enter "fake security camera" into your favorite search engine and you'll have several to pick from.

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Postby portseven-p40 » Fri Jul 06, 2007 5:16 am

Have you seen Zoneminder? It's an open source project for CCTV, if you could build it into the standard Ward Build then it might be something to think about...

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Postby russellhltn » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:12 pm

You can find a number of security camera packages here. May not be the cheapest, but it will give you an idea what's out there. I'd love to play with the 4 camera with DVR with Internet connection.

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thedqs
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Postby thedqs » Fri Jul 06, 2007 12:49 pm

Hmm though hopefully the stake/ward budget has enough to cover it. :o
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Postby russellhltn » Fri Jul 06, 2007 1:53 pm

thedqs wrote:Hmm though hopefully the stake/ward budget has enough to cover it. :o


Yup. As I said. The problem has to be big enough to cover the expense.

You're also going to have to figure out if it's going to do any good. Either the presence of the system is going to cause the perps to move elsewhere, or it's got to be able to cause them to be apprehended and convicted. The latter is easier said then done. I'd talk to the local police department first to see if it would even do any good. I've heard stories about people who have installed cameras and then discovered the resolution wasn't good enough to get a conviction. (Sure, it's clear that a crime has taken place, but is it sharp enough to overcome "reasonable doubt" on the identity for a conviction?) You may also find that the local PD doesn't place much effort into dealing with routine (to them) property crimes and focuses their limited resources on more violent crimes such as robbery.

On the financial front, I don't think the normal Ward/Stake budgets take any hits from theft or vandalism, so it would be hard to justify. On the other hand, I think the FM group's budget may be impacted (repairing the building and replacing equipment), so those are probably the folks you'd have to convince to pay for it. And those folks are more likely to go for commercial packages then anything put together by the members.

Those are some realities the system would have to face to go from an idea to being effective. (IMO)

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Postby emckirdy » Mon Aug 06, 2007 7:38 pm

This is a very good thread, All the way out here in Oregon, we have the same problems with building security and misdeeds -- although here, it tends to be the members who are to blame. The high councilor in charge of physical facilities in our stake determined that the root of the problem was too many people with keys to the building.

We haven't yet hit on a way to solve the problem. Our stake center (in the next town) was recently upgraded to a digital lock system, and those of us with access rights have a small grey device about the size of your thumbnail, which is waved in front of a sensor next to the door. These have solved a lot of similar problems at the stake center.

But this obviously doesn't address the issue of vandalism, and we've had our fair share of that as well, including two stolen cars (on Sundays), other cars broken into, damage to landscaping, graffiti on the building, etc. (And no, this is not even south central LA!) We'd love to find a good security solution, too.


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