Advice about minimising and reporting crime against church buildings and in churchyards
Churches and churchyards face significant risks of crime. These include metal theft, architectural theft (including stone from boundary walls), graffiti and arson. During 2018 the risk of roof metal theft significantly increased once again, primarily as a result of organised national gangs. Local criminals are known to target churches soon after money-raising events such as fairs, so you should be particularly vigilant at these times. Do:
- be particularly vigilant after fairs etc.
- set your alarms - you may find your insurance invalidated if you do not
- check window and door locks
- avoid leaving cash or valuables in vulnerable places (locked drawers are vulnerable).
If you do suffer as a result of crime:
- Inform the Police by dialling 101 (or 999 if the criminals may still be on the scene)
- Inform your insurer
- Inform the DAC Office
Local vigilance is a key strategy. Tell neighbours about any authorised work being done at the church, and make sure they know who to ring if they see any suspicious activity. Above all, be proactive: simple, inexpensive measures can prevent costly and even catastrophic consequences. Raising a Heritage Crime Impact Statement can be a major factor in successful prosecutions. Do remember to include in any such statement the social consequences of the crime as well as the heritage/financial repercussions.