A pastor posts this question to the ELCA clergy Facebook group:
“We found that the back lot of our congregation’s property, down a hill out of sight from the church buildings, has become a hangout for teens with drug and alcohol activity going on.
“Because of the location of the hangout spot, it is not easily patrolled. Do you have any suggestions for us?”
Here are some tips to help you prevent serious consequences that might result unless the congregation takes action:
- Contact the police and ask for their help; see if they will send a patrol to drive by periodically.
- Contact neighbors and congregation members to see if they can help report problems they observe to the police.
- Work with a neighborhood watch.
- See if your insurance carrier has advice.
- Make sure there are no hazards, dangers or debris on the property.
- Post “no trespassing” signs.
- Limit the entrances to the property; fence off the property or entrances.
- Minimize or cut down low-growing plants, shrubs and trees.
- Install light fixtures in appropriate areas around the property.
- From time to time take a walk around your property at night; report trespassers to police.
For more information on security procedures that also address crime and violence issues go to the ELCA website.