Protecting Businesses during Riots

Protecting Businesses during Riots

Since June, protests have been happening across the United States. As civil disobedience increases, law enforcement agencies will prepare for the possibility of protests across the country. The potential continuation of political unrest means private security professionals must also be prepared with a plan that is tactically sound and protective of people and property.
During riots in Arizona my company was hired to protect a private business. Our industry training ensured that no further damages occurred. Here are a few ways we prepare to protect our clients’ businesses.
Open-Source Intelligence and Law Enforcement Partnerships
Security agencies need to have someone that monitors social media, news articles, and other sources of information for planned events. Protests have been organized via Facebook and Twitter and that is valuable information. Prior knowledge of numbers, organizers and intent helps establish the threat profile and informs staffing and security profiles.

Partnering with the local law enforcement agencies in the area may give additional information on threat profiles that are not available through open sources. Many agencies have robust public and private partnerships where such information is shared.

Creating a Comprehensive Plan 
A detailed plan lays out a method of engagement and steps for de-escalating conflict safely. A good plan lays out how many guards are needed to safely protect a property. Most importantly you must have an escape plan that prepares for the worst-case scenario and states when your team’s safety is more important than property.

Any security plan must establish rules of engagement and security priorities. Your guards must know what they are there to protect or defend, and what levels of force are appropriate in each situation. This is a combination of both legal use of force and client expectations. Educating clients is a critical component of the security plan. Clients that understand what security can realistically do and under what circumstances leads to satisfied clients at the end of the contract.

During riots security guards can find themselves overwhelmed with the number of people descending on a business. A comprehensive plan to retreat to safety should be established before any incident occurs. This may include where the guards park, secure points available, and multiple exit routes. Once in a safe place the guard needs to call the security firm for help and contact local authorities for backup.

Establish a Firm Presence
A proper security presence is a deterrent that will dissuade many protestors from your business. There is a balance between proving a firm security presence and creating a challenge. Guards should be visible but far enough out from the route of protestors so as to not be immediately engaged. Guards must understand not to engage in any verbal back and forth with protestors, either in support or opposition for their cause.

Positioning your security team around the perimeter of the property and having them present themselves to rioters in an authoritative manner can deter the rioters from attempting to loot a business. Your body language is the first thing rioters will notice when approaching a business. Presenting an impression of authority by standing tall, shoulders back and in a firm stance can stop many situations from happening before they start.
Armed guards should have their weapons visible but holstered or slung. The presence of a weapon is a deterrent; however, many protestors are aware of when lethal force is allowed and will see that early presence of a readied firearm as a challenge.
Your presence is a clear deterrent against property damage. 

Protecting Life and Safety of Others
The decision to use armed security is one that brings many advantages, as well as some liabilities. Armed security has the ability to more readily defend themselves against grave danger as well as their clients and customers. Armed guards cannot use lethal force to defend property only.

It is important that clients understand the limitations of armed security. Deadly force will never be authorized to defend property or premises. Armed guards are appropriate when the risk to either the guards themselves is such that an unarmed guard could not safely be posted to that assignment, or when there is a credible risk to the staff and customers of the client.

Our armed guards must pass the Arizona Standards to carry a firearm. Arizona law requires a person to obtain a 70 percent shooting accuracy to qualify for a firearms license. We hold our guards to a higher standard requiring them to obtain a 90 percent in shooting accuracy. Security agencies must adhere to their state’s minimum standards decide if that is consistent with their own risk tolerance.

Guards must be well versed on the law regarding when lethal force is authorized. They need to have had some training on decisional shooting as well as the psychological and legal consequences of lethal force.

Making a Citizen’s Arrest
When we are hired to protect a private business, we act as agents of the property owner. We have the right to escort people from the property based upon the criteria established by the client. If a person is on the property and refuses to leave or commits another crime a guard may consider making a citizen’s arrest.

Before making an arrest, the guard needs to consider what is to be accomplished, if an arrest makes sense under the circumstances, and can be done safely.

If the perpetrator is trespassing and refuses to leave then an arrest may be unnecessary. After all, if they refuse to leave then they will still be there when law enforcement arrives. If they leave before, then the goal of removing them from the property has been accomplished.

If the perpetrator is causing a serious disturbance that endangers persons present or is damaging property then an arrest may be appropriate. The guard will need to evaluate several criteria before making the arrest, including probable response time for law enforcement, the guard’s physical ability to control the perpetrator, the presence of weapons, if handcuffs are to be used, and if there is a secure location the guard can hold the perpetrator. Once placed under arrest the guard is responsible for their safety and they must be monitored until turned over to law enforcement. The criteria for making a citizen’s arrest varies by state and your guards must be educated on the relevant laws. In addition, the security agency must determine if court appearances are going to be required for prosecution if the guards time will be billable to the client.

Protecting businesses during riots takes planning and coordination with all involved from the security firm, the business owner and local law enforcement. The security guard is the eyes, ears and muscle protecting the business. Implementing the proper defensive tactics allows security to manage aggressive behavior and ensures people and property are being protected effectively.


  • Maximizing Your Security Budget This Year

    7 Ways You Can Secure a High-Traffic Commercial Security Gate  

    Your commercial security gate is one of your most powerful tools to keep thieves off your property. Without a security gate, your commercial perimeter security plan is all for nothing. Read Now

  • Making Safety and Security Intrinsic to School Design

    Public anxieties about school safety are escalating across the country. According to a 2023 Gallup report, 44% of parents fear for their child’s physical safety at school, a 10 percentage-point increase since 2019. Unfortunately, these fears are likely to increase if the incidence of school tragedies continues to mount. As a result, school leaders are now charged with two non-negotiable responsibilities. The first, as always, is to ensure kids have what they need to learn, grow, and thrive. Sadly, their second responsibility is to keep the children in their care safe from threats and physical danger. Read Now

  • The Power of a Layered Approach to Safety

    In a perfect world, every school would have an unlimited budget to help secure their schools. In reality, schools must prioritize what budget they have while navigating the complexities surrounding school security and lockdown. Read Now

  • How a Security System Can Enhance Arena Safety and the Fan Experience

    Ensuring guests have both a memorable experience and a safe one is no small feat for your physical security team. Stadiums, ballparks, arenas, and other large event venues are increasingly leveraging new technologies to transform the fan experience and maintain a high level of security. The goal is to preserve the integrity and excitement of the event while enhancing security and remaining “behind the scenes.” Read Now

Featured Cybersecurity


New Products

  • ResponderLink


    Shooter Detection Systems (SDS), an company and a global leader in gunshot detection solutions, has introduced ResponderLink, a groundbreaking new 911 notification service for gunshot events. ResponderLink completes the circle from detection to 911 notification to first responder awareness, giving law enforcement enhanced situational intelligence they urgently need to save lives. Integrating SDS’s proven gunshot detection system with Noonlight’s SendPolice platform, ResponderLink is the first solution to automatically deliver real-time gunshot detection data to 911 call centers and first responders. When shots are detected, the 911 dispatching center, also known as the Public Safety Answering Point or PSAP, is contacted based on the gunfire location, enabling faster initiation of life-saving emergency protocols. 3

  • Luma x20

    Luma x20

    Snap One has announced its popular Luma x20 family of surveillance products now offers even greater security and privacy for home and business owners across the globe by giving them full control over integrators’ system access to view live and recorded video. According to Snap One Product Manager Derek Webb, the new “customer handoff” feature provides enhanced user control after initial installation, allowing the owners to have total privacy while also making it easy to reinstate integrator access when maintenance or assistance is required. This new feature is now available to all Luma x20 users globally. “The Luma x20 family of surveillance solutions provides excellent image and audio capture, and with the new customer handoff feature, it now offers absolute privacy for camera feeds and recordings,” Webb said. “With notifications and integrator access controlled through the powerful OvrC remote system management platform, it’s easy for integrators to give their clients full control of their footage and then to get temporary access from the client for any troubleshooting needs.” 3

  • Camden CV-7600 High Security Card Readers

    Camden CV-7600 High Security Card Readers

    Camden Door Controls has relaunched its CV-7600 card readers in response to growing market demand for a more secure alternative to standard proximity credentials that can be easily cloned. CV-7600 readers support MIFARE DESFire EV1 & EV2 encryption technology credentials, making them virtually clone-proof and highly secure. 3