Negligent Security. This term is familiar to business owners, landlords, and property managers; however, the definition is more familiar to those who must frequent these locations in order to shop, work, or visit friends and family. Justia defines “Negligent Security” as follows:
“[…]It is the basis by which an individual injured by a third party tries to hold liable the owner or tenant of the property where a criminal injury is inflicted.”
This means when one becomes the victim of a violent crime on someone else’s property, it must be proven they took every necessary step to enact adequate security on the property for which they were responsible (as either a business owner or landlord). If proof exists that the business owner or landlord (the “liable” party, as it’s known) failed in their duty of care to enact adequate safety measures on the property, and this is the reason the legitimate visitor to the property sustained injuries due a stabbing, shooting, or assault, the “liable” party can be held responsible and litigation may be brought against them by a Personal Injury lawyer.
What is Premises Liability?
Negligent Security also includes what’s known as Premises Liability. Premises Liability is the responsibility of the property owner or landlord to be held accountable for making a reasonable effort to secure the property. This effort should include but isn’t limited to the following safety measures:
- Adequate lighting on and around the property
- Properly staffed guard houses to ID visitors entering the premises and telephone tenants prior to alert them of visitors
- Armed guards to deter criminals from the property
- Security cameras in stairways and elevators to deter criminals from committing their crimes where they believe they can’t be caught
Measures to prevent Negligent Security incidents must be not only attempted and put in place, but maintained and kept in working order. If these measures have been taken, but are not maintained, the property owner is legally responsible for any act of assault or injury that occurs as a result of improper security measures.
How does one protect themselves from becoming a victim of Negligent Security?
No one is ever completely safe from being the potential victim of a crime. The society we live in today has a crime rate much higher than a decade ago, and it only climbs higher. Gun violence in our communities has dramatically increased, and thus the tragedies that occur as a result have become innumerable. Gun violence can happen anywhere, so it’s important to know how to protect ourselves should we find it necessary to visit an area with a crime rate that’s higher than what we might be familiar with. Nightly news is filled with stories of innocent people in the wrong place at the wrong time by no fault of their own.
Responsibility for our own safety
First and foremost, we must take responsibility for our own safety no matter if we’re in an area familiar to us or going somewhere new. We should be aware of our surroundings, and do our best to take the necessary measures to protect ourselves should we find it necessary to visit a location with a higher than average crime rate. In some instances where Negligent Security accidents have occurred, an individual’s job has forced them to visit a location that wasn’t secure, and for which they were not given prior knowledge of the area’s crime rate by their employer. With prior knowledge of the area provided to them, better safety precautions could’ve been taken to protect them from being shot or assaulted while on the job. It is imperative that employers take every necessary step to ensure the safety of employees for which they are responsible.
How can the public be protected from incidents of Negligent Security?
When we think about what we need to feel safe at work or leaving work for the night, what comes to mind? Let’s once again look at some examples of safety measures that should be put in place by the property owner in the case of a business, or a landlord in the case of a private residence (apartment building, rental home, or duplex):
- Working and well maintained security cameras
- Adequate lighting around the property and in parking garages on the premises
- PIN numbers to access the premises (given only to tenants or those with a legitimate reason to be on the property) to keep out ne’er-do-wells and prevent incidents of trespassing where shooting violence has been known to occur
- Armed security or law enforcement officers at places known for high crime rates and multiple incidents of violence that have set a precedent for the area being prone to crime
What happens when the property owner fails to secure the premises?
Sometimes property owners or landlords fail in their duty of care to reasonably protect their property and/or their tenants with any number of the necessary security measures mentioned within this article. When this negligence happens they leave themselves, their property, tenants, and ultimately those who frequent their property at risk of litigation should a violent crime take place on the premises.
If the business owner or landlord is negligent in their responsibility and that negligence results in serious injury or death, it is the right of the injured party to seek full compensation. If an employee was hired by an employer and arrived on the premises, only to end up in the hospital after a shooting, stabbing, or assault, one of the first things that must happen as soon as possible is hire an experienced, Board Certified Negligent Security lawyer to take on the case and see it all the way to a just settlement, or verdict at trial, if necessary.