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Protect Your Business During a Protest or Demonstration

November 20, 2017

A general image of people protestingRecent news headlines have cast a spotlight on what seems to be an increase in the number of public demonstrations, protests, and other types of highly attended public gatherings.  Most protests are peaceful and take place without violence. Though the exceptions are rare, business owners may have questions about how best to prepare for these public demonstrations, and mitigate potential risks. How can you make sure your business is protected if a public protest escalates into a situation where security of property and people is jeopardized?

Maryland Security Professionals regularly works with businesses seeking to ensure that their employees, patrons, and property are kept safe at all times. Below are some steps businesses can take to protect people and property during such events.

6 ways to secure your business during a demonstration or protest

Most protests remain quiet and lawful, though the rare exceptions could lead to serious property damage or loss for business owners.

Here are some considerations for protecting your commercial property:

  1. Know what events are planned – Municipalities often require organizers to obtain permits before conducting public demonstrations. These permits may be published, giving business owners the opportunity to prepare. However, not all groups comply with permit requirements, so some demonstrations may still occur without warning. In those cases, proceeding without a permit is typically a civil infraction, so the police may not step in to stop it.
  2. Hire a security guard – The mere presence of a uniformed security guard may be enough to avert potential altercations.
  3. Have a surveillance system in place – The visible presence of a security camera deters wrongdoers and when damage does occur, the footage provides valuable evidence.
  4. Report trespassing to the police – Citizens have the right to peacefully assemble and business owners have the right to protect their property. Since citizens are also generally considered invited onto business property, police will not remove them unless they are trespassing. In the unlikely event a demonstration becomes less than peaceful, reporting trespass to the police will allow them to remove individuals involved in a disturbance.
  5. Is it in your business’s best interest to close for the day? On one hand, if you do expect a disturbance, then having fewer employees and customers on site will keep them out of harm’s way. On the other hand, keeping the location occupied can deter unwanted acts like vandalism.
  6. Check your insurance policy – In these times of uncertainty, it is a good idea to double check that your business insurance policy will cover losses like damage to property or business interruption if a demonstration leads to an altercation.

Speak with a security professional

Maryland Security Professionals is a regional leader in security services for businesses and residences in Washington D.C., as well as Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, and West Virginia. We custom-design security camera systems to meet a range of needs and budgets, and we employ specially-trained security guards with at least 10 years of law enforcement or military experience. Call today to schedule a free security audit of your business.

Additional Public Demonstration Resources:

  1. Maryland Capital Police, Demonstrating on Public Property, http://mcp.maryland.gov/Documents/DemonstratingonPublicProperty.pdf
  2. Baltimore City Department of Transportation, Special Events Permitting & Street Vending Licenses, https://transportation.baltimorecity.gov/special-events-permitting-street-vending-licenses
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