Starting your own small business can feel intimidating, but after you have your grand opening, feelings of elation, pride and joy quickly quell the fright. You’ve achieved your dream of building your own small business, and now you’re going to see the fruits of your labor grow.
One morning on your way into work you notice that something seems off about your window display. There’s red paint splashed over the window and crudely written are vulgar remarks about YOU. You look around to see if anyone is nearby, and you wonder who could be so cruel. You call the police and they take your statement. They promise to follow up on the incident, but without security cameras, you don’t think they’ll have much chance finding the culprit. What more can you do to protect yourself from these bigots?
How to Handle a Hate Crime
As of 2012, over 75 percent of hate crimes involved property damage in acts of vandalism and destruction. Hate crimes are defined as “a crime, usually violent, motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward an individual’s national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.” You can be the target of a hate crime just by being you. It doesn’t matter if you’re a wonderful person, if someone doesn’t like the look of you, they’ll do what they can to bring you down.
If you go to your office and find that your small business has been tagged with spray paint or your windows shattered by rocks, what should you do?
Call the police:
Remove yourself to a safe area (you don’t know if the perpetrator is lying in wait for you) and call the police.
File a police report:
Give a detailed description of what you saw and who (if anyone) you saw around your place of business when you discovered the graffiti. The Human Rights Campaign advises that you make sure a police report is filed and that you get a copy of that and the preliminary report.
File a report with the FBI:
Because there is a chance that this is not an isolated incident (the perpetrator might be involved in a hate group or may have targeted other establishments) file a report with the FBI. The FBI will conduct a thorough investigation of the hate crime and will lend their expertise to the investigating officers.
Take pictures of the damage that were done to your business and take an inventory to see if anything was stolen.
Contact your insurance agency:
Immediately contact your insurance agency to file a claim using your small business insurance. Small business insurance policies include liability insurance, property liability insurance, commercial auto insurance, workers’ compensation and other add-ons. Your small business insurance package will cover the cost of the damage to your property and your damaged or lost inventory.
Clean up and make repairs:
After your insurance adjustor visits your workplace and gathers the information they need to get a price estimate of the cost to repair the damage, start cleaning up. The goal of the perpetrator was to put your business out of commission, but by cleaning the place up and getting it back to its original condition, you are proving to them that you’re not afraid of their antics. No matter what they do, you’re not going to give up. You have gumption and drive, and no pathetic criminal can take that away from you.
You can handle yourself, and no small-time criminal is going to keep you down. To keep your business protected, look for free small business and professional liability insurance quotes online.
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