Hyattsville, Maryland – Counting church offerings and making the deposit happens for many churches on Monday morning or afternoon. Large sums of money are often collected, and church volunteers take the money to the bank to make the deposit. On Monday, a lady making a $6000 deposit at her church’s bank was robbed by two men who approached her outside the bank, pushed her from behind, grabbing the money and running away.
Another man was waiting in a car nearby. The robbery suspect ran to the car and they sped away. The suspect’s image was captured by the ATM video camera, and police have issued an attempt to locate bulletin to the community.
Thankfully, this kind lady was not harmed or injured, but she was definitely shaken up.
While it isn’t known whether the suspects cased the church or whether she was just a random victim they saw as they drove by, spending a few minutes on offering security might be a good idea.
What is your church money policy? Some churches have very limited security protocols where the money is handled by just one or two people. A recent church embezzlement case involving a pastor and church secretary, who stole $220,000 from their congregation shows us that offerings can easily be pilfered if no accountability exists.
Many churches have security protocols regarding the counting of the money by using several volunteers in the counting process. After the offering collection, the money is taken to a safe and locked in by at least two people. Within the church, I think it is perfectly fine to use volunteers. However, transport to the bank should be handled by someone who is security conscious and alert to the possibility he or she has the potential to be robbed.
After the service, or on the next day, the money is counted in a room with at least 3 people and the room has controlled access. Shielding activity within the room is accomplished by using a placard over any windows and the door is locked. Nobody is able to enter or leave once the counting process is started.
Once the totals are tallied, the money is placed in a zippable/lockable bank deposit bag, it is transported to the bank by two people. If armed security is available at your church, an armed church member may accompany a team member to make the deposit. If not possible, consider having the bank deposit picked up by an armed security courier like Brinks, who will come to your church and pick the deposit up.
Hiring a courier removes the possibility of one of your members becoming a victim of a violent robbery.
Here, situational awareness is required making sure to pay attention to whether your car is being followed, and if there is anyone hanging around the exterior of the bank watching for movement.
While many banks offer outside overnight deposit boxes. When possible, you should go inside the bank and make the deposit there. This leaves the depositor less likely to be seen by those driving by and also increases the chances of more witnesses seeing the activity and being tempted to commit a robbery.