South Florida businesses boarding up, police on alert for election unrest

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Local businesses are taking precautions for Election Day and into the night with tensions on both sides of the aisles as voters cast their final votes at the polls, then wait for election results.

Several of the high-end stores in Miami’s Design District boarded up their windows as a precaution to fears of vandalism and looting.

On Las Olas Boulevard, the owner of Carroll''s Jewelers said they had plans to close their shutters at the end of the business day Tuesday.

At the end of May, at the height of protests in South Florida and nationwide over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Miami saw a wave of vandalism with shops being looted at Bayfront Park. In Fort Lauderdale, vandals driving on East Las Olas Boulevard’s business district threw rocks and bottles into store windows, not far from Carroll’s.

Police officials in Miami-Dade and Broward counties said they are prepared to keep voters safe on Election Day and in the days that follow.

Chief Jorge Colina of the Miami Police Department said he is prepared for his department to respond to any polling sites that have issues.

“We are here to protect their right to vote,” he said. “We’re not going to allow anybody to take advantage of your fear or anxiety as it relates to this election,” Colina said.

Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Karen Dietrich said additional officers are ready and are keeping an eye on the city in case of any issues.

She said there are currently no threats surrounding Election Day, but that she was not allowing personnel to have vacation days during “this critical time period.”

There were rumors circulating about plans for Election Day riots, but federal agents concluded there was no such threat on Tuesday in Miami-Dade County.

About the Authors:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true-crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local

Alexis Frazier joined the Local 10 family in April 2020. The Fort Lauderdale native came to WPLG from the ABC affiliate in Columbia, S.C., WOLO-TV. She's glad to be back in South Florida.