What should I do if there is a riot/looting near me?
October 17, 2005 9:02 AM   Subscribe

What should I do if there is a riot/looting near me? This may be happening much sooner than I ever thought it would.

I live in Chicago, near US Cellular field. Last night when the White Sox won the League Championship, I was kept awake by fans wandering the neighborhood cheering for the team. Cars would drive around the area with horns blaring, one even had the passengers banging on pots. The police monitored the situation, begining the night by driving around and telling people not to loot.

While things seemed fairly calm last night, there exists the possibility that the Sox will win the World Series, if this occurs at a home game I'll have several thousand drunk fans near my doorstep.

When the Bulls won the NBA championship in 1992 1,000 people were arrested and 200 people were injured in widespread violence and looting. What can I do to ensure that myself and my possesions (including my car) are protected? What if a crowd outside my window is tear gassed? I'm averse to gun ownership, but open to other ideas.
posted by borkencode to Human Relations (17 answers total)
Bar your windows, have the best lock you can get on your door, and be far away with your car for the games that could decide the Series.
posted by Zed_Lopez at 9:06 AM on October 17, 2005

I'd leave town, given this advance warning.

In LA, in '92, I just hunkered down. Living in Santa Monica at the time, we could smell the fires, the yuppies were going nuts -- they all went to the supermarket, filling it to overflowing with their queues of overflowing shopping carts. Myself, got my bugout pack all ready, just in case; but that proved to be a ridiculous preparation (and where would I have gone?) This is when shopkeepers traditionally break out the plywood -- if you plan to stick around, maybe you should, too.
posted by Rash at 9:10 AM on October 17, 2005

If I was really concerned about this, I'd take pictures of my valuables, make copies of my insurance policy information and stay somewhere else for a bit.

After all, there's really no benefit to personal stress, and no significant reward for protecting your property.
posted by I Love Tacos at 9:28 AM on October 17, 2005

What I Love Tacos said.

You don't want to be near that crap. You might catch the disease. How did the idea of rioting when your team wins start? Noise, okay! Party, okay! But destructiveness? Apart from my notion that its a symptom of excessively boring lives, I don't get it.
posted by Goofyy at 9:42 AM on October 17, 2005

I would definitely not consider a gun or any other sort of active defense, it would only incite the mob and there's a good chance you would be arrested. There's probably no reason to leave town now. While there might be some partying in the streets after each win, the big rioting will only come if they win the series, and you'll know in advance which game(s) could be the final games, so just plan to spend those nights away from home.

Other than that I agree with everyone else. Make sure your insurance is paid up and you have copies of the policies with you. When you leave, lock up, and make sure you don't leave anything sitting outside you don't mind losing.
posted by blm at 9:43 AM on October 17, 2005

Stay inside. Have any of these past incidents of championships-gone-wild involved damage to private homes/apartments?
posted by Dick Paris at 9:46 AM on October 17, 2005

Maybe just park your car in a garage for the night? Or at some airport lot?
posted by Sara Anne at 9:46 AM on October 17, 2005

Hahah, another IIT cowboy (I spent 4 pleasant years there). You can't possibly be that concerned, you've got a huge police HQ less than a mile from said doorstep. I can't imagine an out of control riot with as large (and presumably prepared) of a police force as Chicago's.

I doubt if you're in a residence you'll be in a lot of trouble, I assume most rioters, and thus, the riot, go for more commercial targets. You also could try parking your car east of 90/94 on Michigan.
posted by onalark at 9:47 AM on October 17, 2005

Your biggest danger (unless the Boston Police show up with some non-lethal weapons) is probably fire. Teams winning important sporting events somehow always leads to cars being burned, which could potentially catch buildings on fire. I would do what I Love Tacos suggested, and anything that you can't possibly replace you might want to keep somewhere else for a few days.

Whatever you do, stay the hell out of the mob.

I'm sure you'll be fine though, what are the odds of Chicago burning down twice?
posted by bondcliff at 9:58 AM on October 17, 2005

What does your insurance policy say with regard to looting and rioting? (taking special note of how it defines these words -- which may be different from your assumed definition)

If the insurance is good, I'd just take the normal, common sense, home security precautions (with the possible exception of storing things of high sentimental value elsewhere), make some popcorn, and sit at the window to enjoy the show.
posted by winston at 10:05 AM on October 17, 2005

My biggest worry would be your car. I don't know if private home looting has ever happened after a sports victory, but cars parked on the street are easy random targets.
posted by smackfu at 10:08 AM on October 17, 2005

My experience with this last year in Boston, living in an area with a lot of bars: when the Sox won the Series there were thousands of people milling around, banging pots, shouting and honking horns. I rode my bike around watching things develop.

Except in rare spots, people were drunk and rowdy but not violent, and cops were everywhere (vigilant but also not violent, save for the previously-mentioned incident with the "non-lethal" weapon after the division win).

I don't really think you have a whole lot to worry about, except for the noise. You might want to move your car a few streets over if it's really in the way of the mob -- that's about it, though.
posted by killdevil at 10:31 AM on October 17, 2005

What does your insurance policy say with regard to looting and rioting? (taking special note of how it defines these words -- which may be different from your assumed definition)

FYI, unless you ask for it specifically (and even then it's really really hard to get), the majority of homeowner's insurance in the US does not cover damage incurred by civil disturbance or riot. Not sure about renter's insurance.
posted by Asparagirl at 11:50 AM on October 17, 2005

In Michigan we see lots of "rioting" when the college teams do well. Usually, like other folks are saying, it's cars and stores that bear the brunt of the violence. I've never heard of people getting their homes broken into. (Sox fans may behave differently than our college kids, though, so YMMV.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:05 PM on October 17, 2005

I was living in downtown Baltimore when they won the Superbowl several years back. You would have thought there would be rioting, but instead it was just a huge, loud, beautifully crazy lovefest. Thousands of people drinking and high-fiving each other in the streets. I think the only arrests came from public indecency a few fans were so happy they took off all of their clothes. There were some gunshots, but they must have been happy in-the-air gunshots. So, basically, don't count your riots before they hatch. (If it does come, I think you would be fine staying indoors and putting a Sox flag on your car.)
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 12:23 PM on October 17, 2005

You only have to worry if the Series goes to 6 or 7 games. They're on the 29th and 30th. If you can, garage the car those nights. Display a few pro-Sox banners. Make sure the yard is well lit. Keep your cell phone handy and let the police know if there is an unusual problem starting in your front yard. They may not come fast, but then again they might.

Can you invite a few friends over for a Series party? Rioters take the route of least resistance. A few guys standing in the yard cheering the Sox will be ignored in favor of setting fire to cars with Cubs, Cards, or Astros bumper stickers.

If you have a car you need to get rid of plaster it with anti-Sox slogans and park it near a neighborhood abandoned building eyesore. Flies and honey and all that.*

Do not get upset if some guy decides to take a leak on your tree. Let him pee and move on. You can hose the yard down in the daylight.

Invite me over. If I can get a ticket tomorrow I'm going to try to fly up for a game. I need little sleep and can stay awake watching your place until the riot is over.

These tips are assuming the Sox win. Fans who lose a game seven are more prone to spontaneous stupid behavior.

*Note to those who are joke blind: that "suggestion" was in jest.
posted by ?! at 9:13 PM on October 17, 2005

Take your car to O'hare long term parking and leave it there for a few days until things cool down. Maybe just take a trip out of town during the World Series to Gurnee? Yee-haw!

I like how here in Madrid, every apartment and condo has shutters on the windows. Even the doors are very solid, the cops would have a hard time getting into my apartment with a battering ram. The shutters on my windows are the integral, aluminum roll-up shutters. They don't stop bullets but will close the place up securely.
posted by JJ86 at 2:03 AM on October 18, 2005

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