Alert / Risk Management
Preparing for Protests and Civil Disobedience

Across the country, from Boston to Bakersfield, many cities and communities in the United States are experiencing civil unrest, protests and, unfortunately in some instances, vandalism, rioting and looting.

Now is the time to prepare your team and facility for potential acts of civil disobedience. It is recommended you revisit your crisis management/ emergency preparedness plans to ensure it contemplates this issue and that your team is familiar with their roles and responsibilities.

Command and control

As with all crisis management, leadership and prescribed roles and responsibilities will provide for, and guide, timely decision making. These decisions will include:

  • Identifying corporate resources and response leaders.
    • Operations/asset management.
    • Risk management.
    • Security.
    • Media relations.
  • Identifying local response leaders.
    • Including resources to monitor local news/social media for protest activity and threat level assessments.
  • Escalation triggers and protocols.
  • Communications.
  • Discussing and creating framework response to likely scenarios such as:
    • Security of staff and visitors.
    • Possible reduction in services and amenities.
    • Restricted access points.
    • Board-up and site prep.
    • Liaison with local authorities.
    • Vendor and visitor controls.
    • Repairs and resuming normal operations

Educating your team

Prior to experiencing a direct threat or protest planned for your city or neighborhood, meet with your local team to review:

  • Corporate response plan.
  • Local escalation protocols.
  • Local roles and responsibilities.
  • Security measures to safely enter/exit the building. • Employee parking.
  • How to respond to aggressive protestors.
  • What to do if there is violence at the property and how employees are to protect themselves and seek shelter.
  • Daily team meetings to go over news of any planned protests, changes in operations, additional security measures, etc.
  • Local/jurisdictional plans and available services.

Assessing and preparing your property

Prior to any unrest, walk your properties to identify and prepare controls for any vulnerable areas including:

  • Poorly protected openings, doorways, access points, etc.
  • Parking garage security.
  • Ground level glass windows that might need protecting with plywood.
  • HVAC fresh air intakes that may need to be closed if tear gas is deployed.
  • Holes in fences and malfunctioning gates.
  • Unsecured dumpster(s) that could be set on fire.
  • Vulnerable amenities that might be vandalized such as outdoor furniture, media centers, roof terraces, etc. • Unsecured mechanical areas in parking garages, etc.

Security

Adequate security can be a powerful deterrent in preventing protest-related vandalism and malicious mischief at your property.

  • Confirm all cameras and video recording equipment operating properly.
  • Is there a need for additional security lighting?
  • If formal security is already being provided, is additional staff or additional shifts necessary?
  • If no formal security, do temporary services need to be provided?
  • If property is ungated, consider instituting a temporary parking pass program for residents and guests.
  • Discuss police response so they can be present if protesters impede traffic, block sidewalks and building access or engage in vandalism.
  • Put into place an “all hands-on deck” call out. If necessary, be ready to lock down and secure the exterior, elevators and parking garage.
  • Consult with local counsel given the following considerations:
    • Local laws regarding picketing, speeches and leafleting. Some municipalities allow expression of free speech on a public sidewalk without need for a permit, providing it does not interfere with others using the sidewalk or those entering/exiting your premises.
    • Banning picketers or protesters on private property.
    • Local noise ordinances that may limit the time of day and decibel level of any noise-making the protesters may engage in (e.g., whistles, amplification equipment, drumming, etc.)

Please see Lockton’s Building Protection Precautions Checklist for additional information and details. If there are issues these documents do not address regarding the current situation, we encourage you to contact your local Lockton Risk Services team member for assistance.

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