Security Journal

, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 685–707 | Cite as

Explaining the adoption of security measures by places of worship: perceived risk of victimization and organizational structure

  • Christopher P. ScheitleEmail author
  • Caitlin Halligan
Original Article


Many law enforcement agencies and religious communities are trying to bolster the security measures taken by places of worship. While research has examined the effectiveness or consequences of organizational security, little research has attempted to understand variation in the adoption of security measures. This study derives hypotheses from the criminological and organizational literatures to understand why places of worship vary in their security. The study then assesses those hypotheses using data generated from a survey of places of worship located in the United States. The analysis shows that a place of worship’s perception of future victimization risk significantly increases the odds of security measures being present. Organizational variables, such as size, resources, and role specialization, however, also have significant effects on the odds of a place of worship having security measures. These findings show the importance of considering both organizational and criminological dynamics when examining security and crime in organizational populations.


Security Organizations Places of worship Cameras Alarms Guards 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA
  2. 2.Department of SociologyWestern Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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