Macy's flagship, other stores board up windows ahead of possible election-related unrest

MIDTOWN, Manhattan (WABC) -- Amid a growing concern over potential protests and unrest as Election Day nears, crews were spotted boarding up Macy's flagship store in Midtown.

The Herald Square store was looted during civil unrest in June.

The move came after businesses in Midtown were advised to take additional security measures in preparation for the possibility of large-scale demonstrations next week.

Suggestions included moving or securing street furniture, trash cans and small planters located at sidewalks and plazas adjacent to storefronts.

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It was also suggested to ensure the safety of pedestrians near polling locations by allowing more sidewalk space to prevent pedestrians from being pushed into the street.

But in a letter to business leaders sent last week, and a follow-up call with top officials, the NYPD stressed the department is better prepared now than when the protests first erupted in late May and early June.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea acknowledged in interviews earlier this week that some businesses may choose to preemptively board up their windows, but said the department is hoping that is a precaution "that is not needed."

Shea told officers in a department-wide video message Friday that "none of us know" what will happen during next week's election:

"None of us know. It could be something in another city, it could be demonstrations here. It probably depends on the outcome of the election, on how clear it is, all of these things that we know. But we are going to be ready."

Shea told officers assigned to polling places to "keep the peace, and not get involved in anything unless there is a really a problem you got to get involved with."

Acknowledging expected protests, Shea vowed, "We are going to have zero tolerance for people breaking the law, but we are also going to encourage people to protest if they want to, and make sure they are safe too."

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Dave Evans has an update on the NYPD's Election Day plan for security.



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