Civil Unrest and the Threat to Your Business: What to Do

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With the increasing chance of civil unrest, many business owners are getting nervous. The threat of rioters and looting is a very real one. Cities experienced billions of dollars in damages from these riots. If you don’t take it seriously, you might end up losing money as your business goes up in flames and your inventory is stolen. Protecting your property is very important, especially with the economic downturn. You might never recover from having your business ransacked. Here are some things you can do to protect your investment.

Be Aware

The single biggest tool you can have to protect against civil unrest is being aware of it. For example, you should have an idea about any upcoming protest actions. They don’t start without a reason. Keep updated with the local news to know whether any incidents can inflame people’s emotions. News reports can also tell you of any brewing trouble. Consider buying a police scanner to get some additional information about any major protest action suddenly happening.

Once you know about something happening, you can start making preparations. For example, if you run a store with a glass storefront, consider boarding up before anything happens. A solid wood panel is much harder to break and can protect your store better than only glass. You might even shutter the store early, providing another layer of protection. This approach was taken by many stores during the recent U.S. elections, anticipating violence, and unrest.

It also gives you time to move out your valuables. For example, high-value inventory or equipment should be moved out of the trouble area. Have a designated spot where you can store valuables so that they don’t get caught up in the riots. Cash should also be taken out of your register or safe and stored somewhere else.

Add Security Measures

You should add some security measures to your business. While they are not traditional thieves, looters can still be discouraged from approaching your property. Installing reliable industrial security systems may seem useless since looters will still break-in but the recordings and the alarm can be useful for the police. The camera can identify looters and the video can be proof for any insurance claim. Additionally, the alarm can attract the attention of the local authorities.

Armed security can also be a useful deterrent against rioters. Having a team patrolling your warehouse or store can be enough to discourage the opportunistic from giving it a try. This can be expensive and there is a risk that they might escalate things. But professionals should know how to act and help ensure that your property is safe.

Train Your Staff

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If you have employees, then they need to know what to do if a riot erupts. Have a plan for how your business responds to an explosion of unrest. This may include changed operating hours and more. The most important item that your people need to learn is how to evacuate safely. You should have exit plans for your team so that they can avoid any violence.

Additionally, you should train them on how to de-escalate and avoid any conflict. Fighting looters can be tempting but that is too risky. It will be much better for your people to get to safety and not get into any fights. Drill into them that, as long as they are safe, everything will be fine.

Protect From Other Threats

Riots are also notorious for fires. If you want to protect your property, you need to install some sprinklers. This ensures that your property is safe from fires. But your safety measures against fires should not stop at that. Look for flammable material and keep them away from public areas so looters can’t easily access them. Additionally, you should also lock up any nearby trash containers or dumpsters. Riots often have these burning so you want to eliminate that fire hazard.

Get Insurance

Finally, you need to get some insurance. No matter how good your precautions are, there is always the chance that rioters will do some damage. Instead of paying out of your pocket, it is better to let the insurance company pay for it. Find a plan that has a wide coverage and make a claim as soon as the riot is over to get proper compensation.

While many protests have valid reasons, emotion can run high during them. It only takes a single spark for a violent riot to start and for people to get angry. Multiple criminal elements would be willing to use the protests as a cover for their thefts. Implementing some common-sense security measures should go a long way in ensuring your property has some margin of safety.

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