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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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November 24th, 2014
05:21 PM ET

Ferguson: A city on edge

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) – Ferguson, Missouri, is a city on edge.

It seemed all too quiet here Monday, with boarded-up shop windows lining the streets, as if a hurricane is headed here.

A grand jury decision is about to be announced, determining the fate of Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

Sporadic protests have continued in Ferguson since August. Even last night, protesters bloodied an out-of-town reporter.

There are those worried about whether justice will be served, and those worried that their livelihoods will be destroyed

"We don't want to have to go through what we went through last time," store owner Jan Lalani told CNN. He and his dad own a convince store not far from the protest sites in August; their store was looted twice this summer.

In August the Lalanis showed CNN surveillance footage of looters kicking and shooting out windows, then trying to set the store on fire.

They thought of closing down the store.

"We had a lot of conversations back and forth. We wanted to stay open because we've been here so long. My dad didn't want to just throw everything on the floor," Lalani said.

They got the store back up up and running. It's open now, but with plywood on the windows, even though that means business drops off up to 40%.

Like many in Ferguson, they are waiting to see what will happen.

"As soon as we hear what (happens), we're going to close down the store and hope the authorities can do their job," Lalani said.

Ferguson schools will also shut down after the grand jury decision is announced. Every kid CNN saw Monday was accompanied by a parent.

At the Canfield Green Apartments, a memorial to Brown has grown. The dolls are by now wet and disheveled and sad. The teenager's former neighbors are waiting, and hopeful there won't be a repeat of this summer.

Just blocks away from the apartments, businesses are on edge.

"They live in fear of what's going to happen, on the breaking point from the last time. The last thing they need is more violence," said Jay Kanzler, an attorney representing many of the businesses that were targeted. Owners are reluctant to talk to the media for fear they will become targets for looters and vandals.

"They live here, they don't want it destroyed. The outside people want to come in and destroy it to get their 15 minutes of fame," said Kanzler.

Back at the Canfield apartments, one resident tidied up Brown's three-month-old makeshift memorial, concealing his face with a mask for fear of being targeted by law enforcement and supporters of Officer Wilson.

He predicted that if Wilson is not indicted Canfield Street would be safe, but the local commercial drag might be in danger.

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