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How To Cope With Looters

NCJ Number
Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine Volume: 29 Issue: 11 Dated: November 2005 Pages: 26-28,30
Dean Scoville
Date Published
November 2005
4 pages
A number of security experts provide advice on how to prevent and handle looting during a crisis when normal social controls and security measures deteriorate.
First, have a plan. This involves having a clearly defined strategy that addresses tactics and the deployment of resources. Regarding the obtaining of additional public-safety resources during a time of crisis, mutual aid agreements should be negotiated, so that police agencies not affected by the crisis will make personnel and resources available to the law enforcement agency whose jurisdiction is affected by the crisis. Planned tactics should involve a quick response shortly after the onset of the crisis and a show of force that is clearly superior to that of potential looters. Tactics should also include making arrests, encouraging media coverage of arrests, documenting looters on video for future prosecution, and guarding likely looter targets until peace is restored. Checkpoints and passes should be used in identifying people who will be readmitted to commercial areas and residences for constructive resettlement efforts. During the crisis, ongoing assessments help determine how and where to deploy resources. Such assessments should profile looters, identify the triggers for looting, and determine where the looting is occurring. Such information will facilitate the establishment of containment and the hardening of key targets.


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