Protests: Why Businesses Should Prepare

protests are a threat to businesses

It seems like large, public protests are occurring more frequently. While the nature of a protest is designed to be disruptive in order to get media attention, this latest form has involved violence and property damage.

As a result, these gatherings are not just impacting those they are directed against.  Businesses in the area of these marches are often damaged, costing millions.

While it is the right of every citizen to protest, they don’t have the right to damage property and endanger people.

What is the Risk?

Over the last few years, there have been protests that began as peaceful demonstrations that soon degenerated into violent encounters. This presents a real risk to businesses.  It can be as small as a disruption in operations and as large as a direct physical assault.  The lives of customers and employees could also be in danger. As explains, “Protestors may aim to damage an organization’s reputation, damage them economically and even injure people associated with them.”

The Cost of Protests

When these gatherings become violent, they have economic costs that can easily climb into the millions. reports that some of these are associated with police costs. Just last year, the City of Philadelphia paid out an additional $2.85 million for an Anti-Trump rally. In December 2014, an anti-police-brutality march cost the City of New York a whopping $22.9 million in police overtime!

Property damage is another cost of these violent gatherings. The protest during the 1999 World Trade Organization meetings cost the City of Seattle $20 million. But that number is small when compared to the $446 million in destroyed property from the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

But that economic cost can continue over time, as well. After the 1992 riots, the city lost an estimated $4 billion in taxable sales over the following decade!

The bottom line is this: Businesses are often innocent bystanders to the violent happenings during these events. Yet they can suffer significant damage from them and see their insurance rates soar because of them.

Minimizing the Risks

The first step to reducing your risk is to perform a security audit. Identify those areas of weakness and develop solutions to strengthen them. If you don’t have a full-time security professional on staff, then partner with a third-party security provider.

If you feel your business location is close to a future protest site, then review and update your external and internal security processes, as well. Adding security guards or increasing your present team, is another way to add a layer of security to your facilities while also providing a very visible deterrent.

The Bottom Line

Taxpayers are not the only people paying the extra costs of protests, property owners do, as well. That includes business property. To ensure these marches don’t negatively impact your organization, be sure to take steps to evaluate your present security level and forge ahead with a plan for making improvements.

If you would like to hear how we help our business clients enhance their security, call American Security force at 855-722-8585.