Demonstration Security Tips for Businesses
SPECIAL EDITION OF SECURALERT
Potential Post-Election Results/Pre-Inauguration
Business Security Alerts for Demonstrations
January 7, 2021
In light of the events at the Capitol on January 6, the certification of the Electoral College votes by Congress, and the upcoming inauguration of a new president, there is concern that additional civil unrest and demonstrations may occur. This Special Edition of SecurAlert provides some security actions for community residents, property management and security personnel to consider in helping protect life and property. (NOTE: These are similar tips that we distributed to our clients and associates in preparation of the presidential election in November 2020 when protests and unrest were predicted).
Demonstration Security – Community Residents
- Stay informed via television, news apps, radio and other media about the latest information on demonstrations, protesters, direction of travel, type of crowd and general security threats.
- If you are aware of a group or organization in your region, look them up on social media. You might be surprised at how much information they are willing to share with their followers and fans online.
- If you may be in an area where a protest is planned, is occurring or may migrate to, do the following:
- Keep away from the area; peaceful demonstrators can easily mix in with agitators and be injured in the fray or by law enforcement response tactics
- Lock your vehicle; if you can, get it off the street
- Stay inside and secure all doors and windows
- Draw all blinds and shades
- Don’t answer the door
- Keep your cell phone with you in the event you have to call police for help
- Remain in an interior room
- DO NOT look out the window; you may be spotted and be targeted by protestors
- If evening, dim lighting
- Stay away from windows and doors should a protest near
- Call 911 ONLY for emergency situations (their resources will be focused on the protest)
- If practical, remove anything around your home that could be used as a projectile
- If the protest may last several days, stock up on food and water; go shopping during morning hours; never at night when protests tend to turn violent.
- If you’re not home when violence sparks, or your home is damaged by rioters, sheltering in place isn’t going to be an option. If you’re in an area prone to civil unrest, the best thing you can do is get out before things go critical. That means packing up yourself, your family and everyone’s belongings and bugging out ASAP.
- If you decide to evacuate the area, only do so when safe to do so; never drive into or near a protest as you may be targeted by agitators. Know where you are going ahead of time and let your family and neighbors know. Plan your escape routes and listen to the media on the latest location of the protest and law enforcement staging
- If you have found yourself in the middle of a mob:
- Try to blend in; note the crowd’s behavior and try to mimic that until you can slowly and calmly move yourself away from what’s going on.
- Get to the outer edges of the event and then leave the area.
- Don’t run as this will attract attention
- Keep away from protest leaders
- If violence occurs and you are physically in the area of the mob:
- Try to find safe shelter
- Get away from the agitators
- Never put yourself between the mob and police or get trapped against a wall or fence which could cause you to be trapped or injured.
- And certainly, never voice your opinions if they conflict with the cause of the protest as this could cause protesters to target you.
- If you are in a condo or apartment and violence is occurring outside or demonstration security is anticipated:
- Make sure all doors are locked
- Get to a higher floor where protestors will likely not go (usually, they will target the first floor and attempt entry into a lobby or adjacent retail space)
- Stay away from any outside area (pool, fitness center, decks or balconies) where projectiles could reach
- DO NOT go outside for any reason until police have cleared the area (there still could be stragglers; wait until the next morning)
- If trapped in a vehicle:
- Never drive through a demonstration or crowd
- If you find yourself in the path of a crowd, turn down the nearest side road, reverse or turn around and drive away calmly
- If you cannot drive away, park the car, lock it and leave it, taking shelter in a side street or doorway for security
- If you don’t have time for this, stop and turn the engine off. Lock the doors and remain calm. Be sure not to show hostility or anger
Demonstration Security – Property Management and Businesses
Demonstration Security – Pre-Event Considerations
- Update all emergency contacts for tenant/employee base, support functions and vendors (security, engineering, janitorial, housekeeping, parking, etc.).
- Contact your disaster/water recovery vendors to include emergency glass companies so you can contact them if needed.
- Be prepared to send emergency notifications about the status of the building and actions occupants should take; update call trees and the wording of emergency announcements.
- Review and update all emergency plans/response protocols and make sure property/client management have these available at home if needed; take with you all emergency contact numbers and emails.
- Conduct a perimeter check of the property and remove/secure furniture, loose items, or other free-standing materials that could be used as a projectile.
- Arrange a Zoom meeting with your team and key tenant reps to discuss the possibility of implementing more strict security and access control protocols should violence or demonstrations potentially impact the area around the account site, especially specific protocols during evening hours (not allowing access, limited hours, additional security deployed).
- Identify a phone number tenants can call to find out if the building is open, closed or has reduced hours (or texting software). If necessary, you can then activate it.
- Contact your security provider to determine their availability to deploy additional resources at the site, who can stay over or come into work on short notice. Considerations to include:
- A contingency emergency schedule in the event additional security is needed (including 12 hour shifts if necessary)
- Scheduling should take into consideration possible compromise of public transportation and/or the blockage of normal street traffic due to demonstration activities (i.e. officers may have to hold over).
- Pay attention to in-building ‘chatter’ from tenants and other parties that might signal potential activity, threats, or civil disobedience.
- Ensure your exterior cameras, including DVRs are all operational and cover critical areas.
- Ensure all security alarms and equipment are in good working order, including panic alarms, central station links, phones, radios, card readers, etc.
- Make sure flashlights and all other equipment is in good working order and you have back-up batteries.
- Ensure your entrance, dock and exterior doors have fully operational locks, and can be secured properly. Be prepared to lock and secure building entrances, dock doors and parking gates/structures.
- Make sure you have a working camera to take photos of damage and other activity.
- Train staff in dealing with demonstrators (see next section).
- Increase patrols of common and key access points (dock, perimeter, parking structures, etc.), with security paying attention to:
- Groups of people
- Stockpiling of projectiles
- Demonstration signage
- Suspicious activity, persons, vehicles
- Stay in contact with your local police department to keep abreast of the latest activities and intelligence. Monitor local news broadcasts via media outlets, social media, or internet.
Demonstration Security – Additional Considerations
- Assess the profile and location of the property to determine if the demonstration will likely have a low or high impact; factors to consider:
- Crime rate in area
- Proximity to major roadways, streets, and public transit stations
- Proximity to government buildings or police agencies
- Proximity to retail areas that could be targets of looting
- High profile tenants or business that could be considered an attractive target to demonstrators and civil disobedience
- Keep your access badge and ID with you so you can access the building if police agencies set up a blockade.
- Consider storing water and basic food stocks on-site (for management team, security and other parties), in the event you or your team is unable to leave the property for an extended period. Also consider a change of clothes, medications, eye contact solution, etc. for the same reason.
- Purchase and stage plywood (in advance) so it can easily be installed to protect windows or cover windows that are broken.
- Call your local police contact for your police zone or district to discuss public safety’s response plan and how your site can support it; ask for assistance and suggestions based on their latest intelligence.
- Check in with your chamber of commerce or downtown improvement district to determine what they will be doing to help monitor and protect businesses; have updated emergency contact information for their representatives.
- Contact your peers in the buildings and businesses around yours to discuss best practices and coordinated response efforts if needed.
Instructions for Security Personnel (Customize to your Property)
In the event a demonstration is staged in the vicinity of your building, take the following steps:
- Immediately inform your supervisor and account manager, who will notify property management.
- All citizens have the right under the law to protest, as long as, they do so on PUBLIC property and in an orderly, lawful fashion. THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED on private (client) property; if you observe them on property or in the building, immediately keep them under observation from a safe distance and inform the account manager and property management.
- DO NOT allow protesters in the building to use restrooms, etc. If they attempt to enter the building, contact property management and your supervisor.
- NEVER attempt to hold or touch a protester in any way. You have no right to do so unless you are protecting yourself from bodily injury.
- DO NOT have any discussions with protesters.
- Never talk to the media.
- Be respectful and professional at all times – treat them as if they were a tenant!!
- Observe the actions of the protest but never interfere with it! DO NOT stand at a glass window to observe demonstrators; if a projectile hits the window, you could be injured. Maintain a safe distance and/or use CCTV to monitor activity.
- Never taunt, yell, or provoke protesters no matter what they say to you. Protests and demonstrations are frequently videotaped by protest organizers in an attempt to bait persons to act in a way that violates their legal rights to protest. As we have seen in the past, there will likely be a heavy media presence.
- Never laugh, glare, point, use obscene gestures, shake your head or use any body language that may indicate your disapproval of their actions.
- Never collect materials provided by demonstrators or damage them.
- Pay attention to:
- Non-public safety individuals putting on gas masks, protective gear or carrying weapons (which may signal imminent actions on the part of the demonstrators)
- Anyone attempting to enter the building
- Rock throwing
- Breaking of glass
- Spray painting
- Setting of fires
- Other criminal activity
- DO NOT attempt to prevent large groups of individuals from causing property damage as it could result in harm to yourself. Communicate from a safe distance if possible and only if you feel safe in doing so.
- If violence or an altercation is observed, call 911 and inform property management.
- Implement an immediate lock-down of the building and call property management.
- Make emergency announcements to tenants and employees using your account’s emergency communication protocols advising them to shelter-in-place and not to leave the protection of the building.
- If a fire is set in the building, follow emergency notifications for a fire regardless of exterior crowds.
- Any changes in protester actions should be immediately reported to property management and the account or operations manager.
- If a security breach occurs, protect yourself! Lock yourself in a safe place (ideally away from the area that has been penetrated; go to another floor and find a secured room and call police. Contact your supervisor and client representative to provide an update. Never put yourself in danger!
If you would like an evaluation on your facilities Demonstration security preparedness, please fill out our form below or contact one of our local offices.