Security Surveys Assess House of Worship Safety

Published on
12/12/2023
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Our Police Department encourages faith leaders to request a security survey for their houses of worship. These surveys, which have been offered for years, assess a house of worship’s security level to verify its current level, modify policies if needed and offer ways to improve security. 

“The rich cultural, religious, racial and ethnic diversity that is Fairfax County is one of our greatest strengths and assets,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeffrey McKay said. “Our residents can experience and immerse themselves in cultures from around the world without having to leave the county. However, we know that there are people who do not share our values of inclusion, or view diversity as some sort of threat, and we wholeheartedly reject that notion as community.”  

There hasn’t been an increase in bias related crimes in the county, but there’s a rising trend of bias-related crimes across the country, so the Police Department wants to be proactive and continue efforts to keep the community safe.

 

HOW TO REQUEST A SECURITY SURVEY

Security Surveys are performed for houses of worship that request them, and follow-up surveys need to be requested as well. To request a survey, reach out to the Crime Prevention Officer or Community Outreach Officer at the district station the facility is located in.

•    Sully District Station
•    Mount Vernon District Station 
•    McLean District Station  
•    Mason District Station
•    Reston District Station
•    Franconia District Station
•    West Springfield District Station
•    Fair Oaks District Station

Most surveys only take a couple hours, but it’s dependent on the size of the property. It’s preferred that the facility is open during the survey so the entire property can be accessed. 

These security surveys align with the Countywide Strategic Plan’s Safety and Security outcome area, helping to create spaces where all people feel safe at home, school, work and in the community.

 

GRANT FUND OPPORTUNITIES

State and federal grants are often available to support the security of religious institutions. Our Police Department recently submitted an application for the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services' Combatting Hate Crimes Grant Program.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management manages the annual Non-profit Security Grant Program administered by the federal Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. The goal of this grant is to improve security through planning, training, exercises and/or equipment, such as security systems. The FY23 grant program came to a close recently and a grant announcement was made in October. The next grant cycle has not yet been announced by FEMA; however, it's anticipated applications will be accepted in April or May 2024.

 

 

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