February 25, 2021
Stricter car emissions rules around the world have sent demand for the precious metals in catalytic converters surging. That has pushed up the asking price for some of the precious metals used in the device — like palladium and rhodium — to record highs. This, combined with the fact that one can be stolen in just minutes, is making vehicles a common target.
Across the nation, police are reporting a surge in catalytic converter theft cases and we’ve seen a rise in claims from our ministry customers over the month.
And it’s not just vehicles you need to protect. Thieves also look for opportunities to nab copper from air conditioning units and other HVAC systems.
Protect Your Property
Thieves are opportunists. They want easy access, so they can get what they want quickly and escape without notice. By hindering access and making detection more likely, you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim. Here are some ideas to consider.
- Store vehicles inside locked garages or sheds. If that’s not an option, have members drive vehicles home each night, so they’re not left in parking lots.
- Enclose church property with a secure fence.
- Post “no trespassing” signs.
- Place a cage or fence around air conditioning units.
- Secure the electrical power shut-off switch. Move the switch, if it’s located near the air conditioning units.
- Remove ladders and other items offering easy access to rooftop HVAC units.
- Replace copper downspouts with other materials.
- Don’t leave copper plumbing, gutters, or wiring on construction sites.
Improve Likelihood of Detection
- Ask church members to drive past the church when they’re in the neighborhood, looking for suspicious cars, people, or activity.
- Invite church neighbors to call police if they notice unusual activity.
- Have local police patrol your property regularly during evening and night hours.
- Use security cameras to monitor target areas, including construction sites. Some systems feature motion activation and can contact police if activity is detected.
- Increase lighting around HVAC units and places where thieves might hide.
- Install alarms on HVAC units. A sensor can be set to trigger an alarm if the power to the AC unit is disconnected or if the AC coolant level drops.
Protect Unoccupied Buildings
If any ministry buildings are vacant or temporarily unoccupied, it’s important to protect them. Thieves are more likely to strike empty buildings, since they're less likely to get caught. You’ll want to protect not only the building’s air conditioner, but also any copper plumbing or valuables that may be inside.
Here are some suggestions:
- Visit vacant or unoccupied buildings regularly to make sure they’re secure.
- Stagger your visits to make them unpredictable. Don’t show up every Tuesday at 2 p.m.
- Make them look “lived in.” Shovel snow, mow the lawn, collect newspapers and mail, place lights on timers, and leave a radio or television set on during your absence.
- Ask neighbors and police to keep an eye on the place.
- Keep fire and burglar alarm systems operational, so authorities are alerted to problems.
Also, it’s important to let your insurance agent know if any buildings listed on your policy are vacant or unoccupied. If a loss occurs after a building has been unoccupied for more than 60 days, your policy may exclude the loss or reduce your payment by 15 percent.
This makes protecting your investment even more significant, since your church would bear a greater share of any loss.
With the holiday season right around the corner, it’s wise for ministries to evaluate their fire safety plan. Whether your ministry is hosting a holiday party, prepping treats for charity, or running a community kitchen, make sure you’re well-prepared with these tips.
As school is back in session, it’s important to make sure your school is equipped with the correct safety procedures. Thinking about your school’s physical security as a series of layers can help you find gaps in your plan. Transportation and volunteers are just two important aspects of your school safety plan to think about.
Anyone who turns on the news, flips through a magazine, or browses the web can see that American society and culture are experiencing rapid transitions. Some ministries have valid concerns that issues surrounding societal shifts may expose them to negative publicity, governmental scrutiny, or litigation.
The questions become: when and how can ministries operate within their deeply held religious beliefs when they may conflict with others’ rights?
Cyber security is increasingly crucial in our technologically advanced world. Scammers use many schemes when attempting to steal your data, but you can outsmart them by understanding their methods.
Most ministry leaders don’t realize there is funding available to non-profit employers including churches, schools, colleges, and camps. This post includes some highlights about the credit and guidance on where to start to see if your ministry is eligible.
When severe storms strike, they can produce high winds and tornadoes. Damaging winds can wreak havoc on your ministry’s property and to buildings. A high wind event can crash debris through your windows, strip your siding, down trees on your parking lot, peel shingles off your roof, and fling back the flashing.
Thieves are taking advantage of soaring precious metal prices. Take steps to protect your ministry’s vehicles and property.
As temperatures plummet, the risk of freezing pipes soars. Frozen pipes can cause costly messes that could also put your ministry on hold while you clean up.
Preparing for this Christmas season may require additional creativity, due to the uncertainty of what COVID-19 may bring in our local community.
A mid-November deadline in the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) bankruptcy proceedings may have you wondering what the organization’s bankruptcy filing means for your ministry if you ever hosted or chartered Boy Scout Troops.
Organizations that obtained Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding through the CARES Act can have their loans forgiven, turning them into grants. To qualify, each borrower must file a forgiveness application with its PPP lender, proving that it followed the rules. If your church, school, college, or camp meets all the criteria, 100% of its loan can be forgiven.
Learn about the CARES Act and two loans for which ministries may be eligible, since Congress authorized additional funding April 23.
As concern over the dangers associated with the spread of a new coronavirus, COVID-19, spreads, our agency and Brotherhood Mutual want to keep you informed and provide best practices for managing the spread of this and similar illnesses at your ministry.
The first Sunday in February is a big day for sports fans. In fact, many Americans view Super Bowl Sunday as a national holiday. Friends and families will gather this year to watch the big game, enjoy delicious snacks, and of course, critique the commercials that go along with game day.
Recently, we learned about two major overseas incidents involving pastors on mission trips. The first incident involved a pastor being hit by a motorcycle while running. The second was a bus accident involving two pastors. The runner and one of the two bus passengers sustained extensive injuries.
Last month, the IRS announced that its initiating hundreds of church exams to test compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many provisions only apply to churches with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees (FTEs), even smaller churches could potentially violate provisions applicable to health benefit plans with as few as 2 plan participants.
July 4th is synonymous with food, fun, and fireworks. If your church is planning an event this Independence Day, remember to keep a focus on safety, so that everyone can have fun.
National Insurance Awareness Day falls on June 28 this year to remind people everywhere that insurance is vital to their companies and ministries.
More than 700 confirmed cases of measles have been reported in the United States so far this year, making this outbreak the worst in decades.
Do you use commercial vehicles that transport more than 15 passengers or carry cargo from one state to another as part of your ministry? If so, you are required to register with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and obtain a USDOT number.