Baltimore Riots Present Civil Unrest Preparedness Cautionary Tale for Businesses


Among the acts of destruction and violence that have occurred this week in Baltimore, Maryland, one image stands out for business owners. That is video footage spread across national and cable news programs depicting a CVS pharmacy aflame as crowds of onlookers stood aside.

Although there is no explicit connection between the business and the controversial death of Freddie Gray, who was arrested by Baltimore police on April 12, the escalating tensions in the urban center demonstrate a need for organizational resilience and business continuity planning. As we have witnessed with similar incidents of civil unrest, such as the August 2014 events in Ferguson, Missouri, it can take just days for scandal to devolve into full-blown riot activity.

It can be challenging to try to anticipate specific developments, but there are general actions that businesses of all sizes MUST take at the first hint of organized street protest or civil unrest:

  • Meet with local authorities and other companies in your area to discuss each other's actions and how you can work together to mitigate risks and respond to events. 
  • Evaluate the physical protection of your property.
  • Consider increasing the use of visible security presence on the days when demonstrations or marches are planned. 
  • Hold training sessions for your employees on emergency response and notification plans so that everyone understands procedures and knows how to communicate during an adverse event or business disruption.

Click here to learn more about protecting your business from civil unrest. HUB International's Risk Team has prepared a number of resources designed to help you and your business anticipate, prepare for and recover from a variety of security threats.

Contact us today to develop a customized plan that addresses your industry, geography and other variables.