As if COVID-19, racial tensions, and the stumbling economy were not enough, America is also in the midst of an escalating wave of homicides. This is happening around the country, and in big cities, as well as small towns.
For instance, in Chicago as of August 2, 2020, the city has logged 450 homicides, most of them shootings. That’s up 50 percent compared to 2019, and we have four more months to go in the year.
These homicides, as well as other forms of crime, are ending the progress Chicago and many other cities have made in reducing crime over the past few years.
As the violence and homicides grow, the number of homicides occurring is causing many security experts to analyze the situation and see what is behind these rising numbers.
What we are finding, as you might expect, is that the combined forces of COVID, racial tension, and the struggling economy are the key instigators.
Jobs are scarce now for many people, most notably those having difficulty finding a job even during better times. Plus, many of the safety nets such as churches and nonprofit organizations that came to people’s rescue in times like these, are finding that they are stretched to the max, unable to help all those who need their assistance.
Many churches, for example, have still not opened, eliminating the sense of safety and community assistance they can offer. Further, public and private help agencies are finding it increasingly challenging to raise funds.
The result is a general feeling of hopelessness in some communities, which is what we believe is behind the upswing in violence as well as homicides.
This may be one reason for the recent looting in Chicago and other cities. “People feel despair and lack of hope prior [to COVID and the economic downturn], and they feel almost nothing now,” says Chris Patterson, with the Institute for Nonviolence Chicago.
“With jobs disappearing and the constant threat of a deadly virus, these are very uncertain times [even] for people who have it together.” For those who don’t, “this is a very terrifying time.”
Adding to the problem is that the types of weapons being used by these shooters have been upgraded. Instead of more traditional handguns, military-grade, semi-automatic weapons are now found, especially among gang members, behind many of the shootings in major cities. These guns increase the chances that numerous people can get shot and killed at one time.
Everyone should be concerned about this situation, and this extends to CEOs and the top executives of companies around the globe. However, what they must also realize is that this is not just an unfortunate situation happening somewhere “out there.” It can happen—and is happening—anywhere, and CEOs and company executives, along with their staff, can be at risk.
To help prevent this, companies are urged to commission a professional risk and threat assessment. The assessment will identify gaps in personal and corporate security. Plus, while personal security is always the top priority, we need to go further.
Online information, online impersonation, and the release of personal and corporate confidential information are also threats, especially now. These are the kinds of threats that can be very damaging not only to executives but also to the companies they work for. The professional risk and threat assessment will start the process of minimizing and possibly mitigating these dangers, and as we remind our clients, may be needed more now than ever before.
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Chief Executive Officer