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1. Anticipate It
No business should be blindsided by a riot. Keeping up to date on current events and watching local news will serve as your forecast. If there is a planned protest, unrest around an election, feverous anticipation of a local sporting event, or other affair that may spiral out of control if the outcome revs up public sentiment, the threat exists. Anticipate it and plan accordingly by hiring 24 hour private security until the event has passed.
2. Rally Your Local Business Community
Once you’ve anticipated the threat, gather up everyone in your local business community (informal and formal associations) and express your concerns with the local municipality. Collectively call for a meeting and put in a request for additional police presence (and/or street closures) during the timeline where potential for a riot exists.
3. Post a Local Business Sign/Sticker on Your Front Window
Wear local business pride on your sleeve by placing an identifier on your front window. Some community business associations provide these to you. Something as simple as a “Shop Local” sticker can make a difference, making a potential vandal think twice about targeting your store over that of a large chain or franchise. It may not stop everyone, but it will stop some. If one sticker can stop a brick, it’s worth it.
4. Keep Valuables Out of Your Window When Closed
This tip should be practiced to keep criminals away throughout the year. That being said, we understand that many businesses consider their product-laden window displays to be a big part of branding, even when the shop is closed (to encourage customers to come back the next day). Regardless, when you anticipate (as per item #1 above) any major public gathering (when closed), remove all product from plain view. If you remove temptation you dramatically reduce the potential for smash-and-grab theft and vandalism that goes hand in hand with a riot. In fact, it’s often that first act that incites the riot. You don’t want your window display to be the spark that ignites the entire fire.
Again, all we can do is prepare. Be safe.