Merchants are protecting their stores against looting by hiring armed security, putting up barbed wire fences and boarding up windows to deter violence.
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Security personnel companies have received requests from department stores, groceries, drug store chains and small business associations relying on security to discourage theft and damage done to stores because of civil unrest.
“The police are completely overwhelmed in some cases. It got to the point where employees are quitting, they don’t feel safe," Domenic Gallelli, a senior vice president at Philadelphia-based Ingage Security told FOX Business. "A vandal or someone who's looking to create destruction may not care, but for some of these business owners, their families live upstairs.”
Gallelli said his firm has taken on nearly a dozen new accounts from business owner associations and merchants in the Manayunk and restaurant-laden Italian Market neighborhoods of Philadelphia, many of whom are family-owned and are in the midst of recovering from the financial losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic economic standstill.
Private security has become more apparent outside of cities as shopping centers and malls throughout suburban neighborhoods have also heightened safety measures during curfews, sources told Fox Business.
Big companies like Apple, Target, Starbucks and luxury merchants have boarded up locations in recent days, others have enlisted private security. Several security guards with attack dogs stood watch in front of Saks Fifth Avenue’s flagship store secured with barbed wire fencing in New York City. Security was also stationed blocks away at Nike’s flagship storefront.
A report from the New York Post said that one New York City retailer has stationed armed guards inside its store to protect it in case of a break-in, but Gallelli advises against it. But there are exceptions for high-value materials, like jewelry.
More than 24 cities in the U.S. have implemented curfews and the National Guard has been summoned in a dozen states and Washington, D.C., the Washington Post reported.
And as nonessential businesses start reopening, some independent business owners are grappling with not having insurance and recovering losses from property damage and inventory theft that could further derail their recovery.