LOS ANGELES - Businesses in Downtown Los Angeles are boarding up ahead of Tuesday's election and the unrest that could follow.
With suspicions running high from both the left and the right, experts believe there could be conflict and violence across the U.S. following the election, especially if there's no clear winner on election night.
Edwin Juarez from Jason's Wine and Spirits plans to board up the store before Tuesday.
"We're pretty much going to be doing the same thing as every other business down Broadway. We're going to be boarding and trying to see if we can take any other measurements to ensure that nothing happens," said Juarez.
The store is a one-stop shop in the area, which also offers alcohol delivery. It's been in operation for six years, and Juarez said this is the first year where they've had to board up their store.
"It's definitely been one of those years where you just don't know what to expect. You gotta be ready for anything nowadays, especially the last few months with everything that happened, all the protests, all the rioting. It's just been very intense," said Juarez.
Juarez said there have been many learning experiences over the past few months. Their store has not been impacted by break-ins thus far.
"We've been fortunate enough to not be hit at all, even when we weren't boarded up, but we feel like this time around for the election might be a little different," he said.
Some stores in the downtown area have been boarded up for weeks following the unrest, and plan to stay boarded up through the election too. Residents are getting used to seeing plywood on stores.
"It's been super weird being in LA, looking like Gotham City. I don't appreciate it, but I understand," said Akeem Smith who lives and works in Downtown Los Angeles.
He said he knows boarding up can be very costly for businesses but believes it's a good idea ahead of Election Day.
"I think it's good for preventative maintenance because a lot of people are looking for reasons to create mayhem," said Smith.
LAPD released the following statement regarding the upcoming election:
"The Department is committed to ensuring the safety of every Angeleno at the polls during this election. While we fully expect a peaceful election day, we are prepared to address any potential violence that may occur on November 3rd or the days following. The LAPD is communicating with our local and state emergency partners to coordinate our response and plan for any protests or groups that might become violent. The department has modified deployment to ensure a sufficient number of officers will be available to work evenings and into the weekend. The Department is working with the Registrar Recorder/ County Clerk’s Office to ensure people understand the rules of participating in an election and the ways they can vote.
In line with the Department’s core value of Quality Through Continuous Improvement, officers are receiving ongoing training on crowd control and crowd management in preparation for any protest activities related to the election. Rest assured residents can feel safe as they head to their local polling places, and the department has sufficient resources to respond to any crisis or situations that arise. Senior Lead Officers and other staff from our community relations offices will be available to deal with public safety problems. Free elections and the peaceful transfer of power is the cornerstone of our democracy, and the LAPD is committed to ensuring a safe election here in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department plans to release a statment soon regarding their planned response efforts."