The world’s biggest banks are working with one another and police to gather intelligence as protesters try to rejuvenate the Occupy Wall Street movement with May demonstrations, industry security consultants said.
Among 99 protest targets in midtown Manhattan on May 1 are JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Bank of America Corp. (BAC) offices, said Marisa Holmes, a member of Occupy’s May Day planning committee. Events are scheduled for more than 115 cities, including an effort to shut down the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, where Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) investors relied on police to get past protests at their annual meeting this week.
”œOur goal is to kick off the spring offensive and go directly to where the financial elite play and plan,” she said.
After evictions and arrests from Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to London that began last year, the movement against income inequality and corporate abuse will regain strength, said Brian McNary, director of global risk at Pinkerton Consulting & Investigations, a subsidiary of Sweden’s Securitas AB. (SECUB) He works with international financial firms to ”œidentify, map and track” protesters across social media and at their assemblies, he said. The companies gather data ”œcarefully and methodically” to prevent business disruptions.
Banks are preparing for Occupy demonstrations at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Chicago summit on May 20 and 21 by sharing information from video surveillance, robots and officers in buildings, giving ”œa real-time, 360-degree” view, said McNary, who works on the project.
Banks have a history of coordinating security with city authorities. At a 2009 U.S. Senate hearing, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly described a partnership with financial-district firms that gives his department ”œaccess to hundreds of private- security cameras.” Footage is monitored in a downtown Manhattan center, he said. A 2005 letter Kelly wrote to Edward Forst, then chief administrative officer at Goldman Sachs, shows it was among firms getting space in the facility.
Starting in 2010, JPMorgan gave the New York City Police Foundation the largest donation in the group’s history, the bank’s website shows. The gift, valued at $4.6 million, included 1,000 patrol car laptops. ”œThese officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, 56, said in a statement on the website.
Private-security teams in London have become an ”œincredible army” and ”œthe eyes and ears of the city” thanks to a coordination program called Project Griffin, according to Rachel Briggs, policy director at the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue. The organization develops responses to security challenges.