DENVER (CBS4) – As police departments across the country prepare for protests after Election Day, local businesses in the Denver metro area are boarding up its windows out of an abundance of caution.
“We’ve been talking with the neighbors and everyone’s trying to figure out what to do for election night. Some of the businesses are talking about putting Styrofoam boards over the windows. We’ll probably hire extra security guards,” said Will Cook, President of Howard Lorton Furniture and Design.
After a Summer of protests turned violent, the team at Howard Lorton can finally see the light. They’ve spent much of the year in darkness, behind boarded windows, after rioters shattered their storefront. Cook says he’s still deciding if the company will make use of those boards again on Nov. 3.
“Peaceful protest is a right in this country, but the breaking windows and the violence, it’s sad. I’m still an optimist. I’m really hoping that everyone goes out, does their civic duty, and doesn’t protest violently,” said Cook.
Public Safety Director Murphy Robinson told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd the city hasn’t received any credible threats, but there are signs that people are on edge.
So far, Robinson says he knows of two planned protests with upwards of 2,000 people each.
“We are tracking groups and are in conversation with a lot of groups. It’s the folks who aren’t coordinating with us that we have concerns about,” said Robinson.
Denver police told CBS4 the department has been in contact with some downtown businesses and business organizations over the past couple of weeks, discussing safety and security ahead of the election. With regards to boarding windows or other precautionary security measures, DPD is advising businesses to do a safety assessment and determine what’s most appropriate for their property.
Ross, on the 16th Street Mall, says they’ve received several questions from shoppers who saw the newly boarded storefront Thursday. Employees assured them they aren’t closing.
An apartment complex in downtown Denver sent a letter to its residents Wednesday, warning them to stay vigilant during election week:
“We have no reason to believe that any violence has been planned. However, out of an abundance of caution, we will be boarding up the store-front windows in our community and increasing courtesy patrol around Election Day…Next week, there is also the possibility that some individuals will take advantage of police attention being drawn to demonstrations and target items in unlocked vehicles.”
In a first for an election, the City of Denver is activating its emergency operations center and public safety command post. The city will also work with federal law enforcement and both state parties. Robinson says he wants people to know that the city will be safe, regardless of the election results and it is absolutely safe to vote.