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In the spring of 2021, the operational leader of a professional services firm needed assistance in evaluating their decision-making and long-term strategic planning regarding the safety of their employees, security investments, communication tactics and organizational resilience.

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The Problem

Large employers in major cities were trying to decide whether it was safe to have their employees return to the office. COVID-19 protocols weren’t the only issue. Civil unrest was on the rise nationally, including demands to “defund the police.”

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The Solution

Our security risk consultants focused on four cities: Chicago, Minneapolis, New York and Philadelphia. We evaluated security-related issues and capabilities regarding physical office spaces, parking areas and other public areas and facilities, transportation routes to and from offices and employees’ ability to prevent or respond to security incidents. We compared crime and civil unrest incidents in these cities to national averages. We also analyzed the possible effects of the movement to defund the police on crime levels, current or planned police deployments in the business districts near their offices, and the impacts of civil unrest and COVID-19 shutdowns on commercial real estate near offices.

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The Results

Among nearly 30 recommendations, we determined that the low number of commuters in the cities we examined created vulnerabilities in the transit environment, such as higher numbers of homeless people in business districts and an absence of police presence on common commuter walking routes. This counsel helped the firm manage risk and business continuity during a period of uncertainty and led the client to extend our engagement to address a new set of board-level priorities.

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