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  • Writer's pictureTroy Riggs

The Real Threat of Civil Unrest in America






Civil unrest in major cities:

 

With the first presidential election occurring later this week, I am getting questions about the potential for violence during the election cycle. Yes, this is a concern, but there are additional threats.







Public Safety professionals, businesses, and non-profits should be aware of this evolving situation. Unfortunately, houses of faith are now possible targets.


Below is a general overview of the issues confronting us:


Political conventions

Some pundits are saying this could be a repeat of the violent 1968 Democratic Convention.

 

I have attached two stories regarding the upcoming political conventions.

 

 

 

Response:  A protocol should be established and reviewed for potential unrest if businesses are in upcoming Political Convention cities. 

 

 

Threat of Extremist Violence

There is a severe risk of extremist violence around the 2024 election, driven by many of the same grievances and instability that led to the January 6, 2021, assault on the US capitol and the summer of violence in 2020.  Threats from both far-right and far-left extremist violence cannot be dismissed.

 

General Protests possible throughout the US

 

Social Protests

 

Protests can develop overnight due to a myriad of social concerns or issues.  Extremists may use these events as opportunities to promulgate violence.

 

These protests, demonstrations, and potential unrest could lead to street closures, with associated transportation difficulties limiting the availability of team members arriving or leaving a place of business.   Business operating hours could be severely limited, impacting productivity and revenue.

 

 

Political Protests

 

***Public Perception of expected violence, according to Axios.

49% of Americans expect violence from the losing side over future presidential election losses.

70% believe US democracy is under threat, while 30% field it is secure

 

The threat appears to be driven by a combination of extremist ideologies, the potential for inflammatory rhetoric and disinformation around the election process, and a segment of the public that has lost faith in the integrity of elections. Law enforcement vigilance and efforts to prevent violence are critical mitigating factors.

 

Preparation Options:

Identify cities where protests have occurred in the past or are likely in the future.

Dedicate personnel to monitoring protests once these are announced or spontaneously occur.

Have an emergency response plan (ERP) for HQ leaders to utilize.

Training on how to prepare for such an incident.

         --clearing valuable items from view of the public

--establishing a quick communication tool to disseminate and collect information

--recording the inside and outside of potentially affected businesses and forwarding to the appropriate person

         --if violence does occur, record and send the post-video to document damage

         --pre and post-inventory of items

--if the business is closed for an extended time, decide what to do with any perishable items (emergency shelter, etc.).

--keep track of expenses and damage for insurance purposes and potential Federal, State, and Local reimbursement or low-interest rebuilding loans.

 

 

Cyber-attack is imminent:

--Many are concerned that this will upset business operations, power grids, and others on a large scale for days, possibly weeks.    Major cities or event venues would be prime targets.

 

--This could coincide with a traditional terrorist event, which will complicate matters for organizations, first responders, and citizens.

 

Preparation options:

Contingency and response plans must be developed, and tabletop exercises are advisable.  These trainings would include IT, C-Suite, PR, HR, and Risk/Safety/Security at the very least.

 

Stockpile needed supplies—we recommend, at the very minimum, a four-day supply.

 

Additional thoughts:

The risk, of these aforementioned situations, is at the highest level in our lifetime.  Fear of these situations should be replaced by empowerment through preparation.  Proactive planning and preparation can serve as leadership training for those in the field and demonstrates the organization's commitment to the safety of the team members and their families.

 

It also needs to be mentioned that the reputational risks to a business during these challenging times are also at stake.  How businesses respond to threats, political upheaval, and social pressures could determine the organization's future.

 

Three final suggestions:

1.    Businesses must be aware of the political and social environment and avoid making statements or decisions that could inflame partisans.  Non-partisan statements, including advertising, are a must.  Failure to do so may lead to significant backlash.

2.    Consistent monitoring of threat assessments before, during, and immediately after the election or incidents causing disturbance throughout the nation.

3.    It would also be wise to review active shooter training due to unstable political conditions, cultural issues, etc.

 

 

 

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