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Staying Safe during the latest geopolitical tensions with Israel and Palestine

Staying Safe during the latest geopolitical tensions with Israel and Palestine
International events can impact domestic security dynamics, even when it’s thousands of miles away.
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While our country is suffering from the latest rise in crime in many States, with civilians and businesses being under attack, the recent conflict between Israel and Palestine is causing more local concerns about safety and security. It is no secret that international events can impact domestic security dynamics, even when it’s thousands of miles away. Let’s not forget how people who were supporting one party or the other, were targeted during last elections, and Asian origin civilians and medical personnel being attacked during Covid lockdowns.

According to the latest news, we have already had incidents where people were targeted for who they are, or what side they take. abcNews reported the murder of a little boy In Plainfield, Illinois, “Wadea Al-Fayoume, a 6-year-old Muslim boy was stabbed to death and his mother was seriously injured in what police said was a hate crime linked to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.” While in Manhattan a woman was attacked inside the train station for being a Jew. The 2022 report, issued by Tel Aviv University’s Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry and the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League, reveals that in 2022 we had a significant rise in Antisemitic hate crimes in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, places that hold the majority of Jewish population.

What happens miles away can affect our county and our safety in numerous ways:

  • Crime hates rising: People will be targeted because of their origin, religion, or beliefs. And not just individuals, but businesses, places of worship and communities as well. Such international events can also polarize domestic populations, particularly if there are diaspora communities that feel strongly about these events. This can lead to heightened social tensions, hate crimes, or even violent confrontations between different community groups.
  • Radicalization: Conflicts abroad can lead to the radicalization of individuals within our country, especially if they feel a cultural, religious, or ethnic connection to the events.
  • Migration Waves: Large-scale international events, like wars, can create waves of refugees and migrants. A sudden flood can strain domestic resources and might lead to security concerns, especially if there’s a lack of proper vetting processes.
  • Proxy Threats: Any country may be targeted by terrorist groups due to their political stance on the latest events. In the last couple of weeks, the majority of Europe has been on high alert due to increased terrorism concerns.
  • Protests and Demonstrations: International events can spark emotional reactions from both sides, leading to protests and demonstrations. Some of the gatherings can be violent, while others, even while mostly peaceful, can sometimes escalate into violence, especially when they get infiltrated by counter-protesters with opposing views.
  • Business-Destruction: Hate crimes do not only affect individuals, but also businesses who either belong to, employ, or are of interest to one side or the other. Those businesses might become targets of vandalism or boycotts. In addition, protests that turn violent can lead to unintended consequences like the destruction of corporate property.
  • Safety Concerns: When international events escalate, especially those involving key allies, there can be an atmosphere of heightened tension domestically. Diaspora communities or individuals with ethnic, religious, or cultural ties to the nations involved may feel particularly vulnerable. They might face hate crimes, discrimination, or be unfairly targeted due to perceived affiliations. Even without direct ties, the general public might experience anxiety or fear, especially if there are threats of retaliation or terrorism, from actors related to the international event.

As you can see, it becomes quite clear that it is very important to stay vigilant, well informed and understand that even while international events may seem distant, they can have ripple effects on a domestic level. This can disrupt daily life, challenge the safety and operational viability of businesses, and shape perceptions of safety among the citizens.

People ask, how do we stay safe during such events?

First of all, it is very important for citizens and businesses to understand the unique security landscape we are currently navigating and what proactive steps they can take to ensure their safety.

Consider the following Safety Considerations:

For Individuals:

  • Stay Informed: Monitor regularly trusted news sources to be aware of ongoing situations and potential areas of unrest.
  • Avoid being too public about your personal beliefs on social media. Be wary of sharing personal information or opinions that might make you a target. Understand the potential consequences of digital footprints. Remember, there is a difference between the 1st Amendment and just being conflagratory.
  • Avoid Conflict Areas: If there are known areas of protests or unrest, it’s best to avoid them, especially during peak times.
  • Be cautious: Maintain good situational awareness outdoors. Put that phone down and focus on what is happening around you. If things start becoming loud and alarming, remove yourself from that place.
  • Establish Safety Protocols: Know the quickest exit routes from your home and workplace. Establish a meeting point with family members in case of separation. Know where the exits are at restaurants and prefer tables away from windows.
  • Now is the time! -If you see something to say something: If you see something or someone that seems unusual, or a situation that makes you feel uncomfortable, report it to authorities or seek the help of LE or private security personnel.
  • Stay Calm and Control your Emotions: In tense situations, a calm demeanor can prevent escalation. Avoid confrontational behavior or language. You alone cannot solve a geopolitical issue, no matter how vocal or confrontational you become with someone who holds the opposite belief.

For Businesses:

  • Risk Assessment: Businesses, no matter how big or small, must regularly evaluate potential risks associated with their business, customer type, and location. They must adapt their security measures accordingly. Small businesses who have a limited budget should opt for risk assessment services on demand. For more information, you can reach out to Blue Raven Inc. and find out how we serve and protect businesses of all sizes.
  • Security Personnel: Depending on the risk level, consider hiring or increasing the number of security personnel, at least for the time being, and as long the situation is ongoing. Blue Raven Inc.’s Retail Division Team (RED), is specifically designed program to assist stores in Virginia combat the rising security challenges and retail theft. They have the authority to arrest and detain shoplifters while on client premises, and then transport them to local law enforcement facilities for processing.
  • Secure Premises: Ensure that all entry and exit points are monitored and secured. Install security cameras and alarm systems.
  • Communication: Establish clear channels of communication with employees. Keep them informed about the security situation and any changes in operational procedures. Also create a plan and inform all your employees of what they should and should not do in specific situations. Have a written plan and make sure it is distributed, then discuss it thoroughly so that it is clearly understood.
  • Emergency Protocols: Develop and regularly update emergency protocols for various scenarios – from attacks, evacuations, to lockdowns. Conduct drills to ensure employees know how to react.
  • Insurance: Review your insurance policies to ensure you have the proper coverage against potential damage or business interruptions.
  • Employee Support: Recognize that employees might be affected personally by international events. Provide support, safety education, or safe transportation options.
  • Engage with your Community: Building strong community ties can offer a protective buffer. Engage in community outreach and support local initiatives aimed at peace and understanding.

We are sure by now it has become clear- Global occurrences have a profound effect on all of us, no matter where in the world we are, no matter who we are, and no matter what our background or where we come from. It falls on each of us to take the initiative and open our eyes and raise our level of awareness so that we can protect ourselves, our loved ones, and all those around us. As much as we would like to believe that it couldn’t happen here, now, in our town…. It can, it does, and it will unless we start taking the needed precautions and become highly mindful of our surroundings.

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