When a rape, robbery or assault occurs, justice is not limited to the criminal charges. Under some circumstances, victims of criminal activity may have grounds to sue the property owner for failing to prevent the attack through reasonable security measures.
What is Negligent Security?
Negligent security cases involve people who were victims of criminal acts on a business’ or another individual’s property because of inadequate security or a complete failure to provide any security.
Security negligence can include but is not limited to the following:
- Rape or attempted sexual assault
- A mugging or armed robbery
- An unprovoked attack
- Bystander injuries in a bar fight
- An overzealous bouncer or security guard
When does a property owner have liability for criminal activities?
Determining adequate security will be a case-by-case analysis. In cases of inadequate or negligent security, sometimes it is appropriate to sue the property owner or the establishment itself. At other times, if the commercial defendant had hired an outside security company to provide security and they did so negligently, the security company can be sued. It is important to do an investigation to find out who was responsible for the security and why it was not done properly.
Property owners have a responsibility to ensure their premises are safe and secure. Owners of certain establishments are responsible for taking extra security measures, especially for properties located within high-crime areas or if their business involves large crowds, alcohol and/or nighttime activities.
If you were hurt in a criminal assault because a property owner failed to provide adequate security, you may have a negligent security case against the owners of the following properties:
- Shopping malls. These places are especially dangerous after dark and during the holiday season. Thieves are looking to take advantage of unexpecting, innocent shoppers, and thus, mall owners should ensure that parking lots are well lit and that there is a strong security presence to deter criminal activities and dangerous behaviors.
- Parking lots or parking garages. Parking lots and garages can be dangerous locations, particularly at night. To keep patrons safe, these owners should provide adequate lighting, cameras and skilled security personnel.
- Apartment buildings. Apartment communities are prime targets for criminal activity. Thieves, robbers, and rapists prey on apartment residents as they enter and exit their homes. It is imperative for apartment building owners to employ adequate security measures.
- Bars and nightclubs. The nighttime operations of these facilities, along with the presence of alcohol, make them particularly risky if appropriate measures are not taken. Bar and club owners are responsible for providing reasonable protections against criminal activity, as well as the actions of intoxicated patrons within the establishment. This is accomplished through bartender policies, security guards, and adequate emergency measures.
- Sports venues. If you combine the intense emotions of a sporting event with alcohol, the results can be dangerous. Therefore, sports venue operators have a responsibility to employee security measures that keep fans safe from harm while in and around the venue location.
- Hotels. Those paying to stay in a hotel expect to be safe from harm while on hotel grounds. However, hotel hallways, elevators, and parking lots can be extremely dangerous without proper security measures as these are easy places for criminals to prey on patrons.
Negligent security cases and premises liability claims are all unique. If you have been a victim of a crime and suffered an injury on someone else’s property as a result of unsafe conditions, you may be entitled to compensation.
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