The goal of security on any property is to provide peace of mind to residents, employees, or visitors, protect them from crime by discouraging it, and, in the event a crime occurs, assist the police if they need to investigate.

However, nothing is perfect, and security can fail. But if it fails due to insufficient care in maintaining that security presence, then a property owner or manager is responsible for people victimized by crime. If this happens, it’s possible to go to court for compensation as a result of that failure of responsibility.

Basic Responsibility

Premises liability is not considered a criminal violation but a civil one. This means that rather than the accused being found “guilty” in a trial and facing criminal charges, such as a jail sentence, the accused is found “at fault” and must accept the responsibility by compensating the wronged parties, usually in the form of monetary compensation or “damages.”

When Is It Negligent?

Premises liability pertaining specifically to security issues is known as security negligence. However, for security negligence to move forward in a premises liability lawsuit, specific criteria need to be met, as with any other lawsuit that goes to trial. Evidence must also be submitted to the court for the jury’s consideration in deciding whether the arguments of security negligence are sound.

For someone injured by a crime to be considered a victim of security negligence, there must be an argument and evidence showing that:
a) There was a clear cut risk of crime in the area that the property owners were aware of.

b) Despite this awareness, the property owners did not take or maintain the measures that would have been required to keep visitors, employees, or residents safe.

In other words, this means that if an angry spouse showed up at a workplace specifically to shoot a partner, and others were caught in the crossfire, that security negligence necessarily occurred. On the other hand, if a parking lot was the known site for multiple assaults, muggings and the property owners continue not to take any steps to reduce or protect visitors, that negligence, if the track record and lack of effort can be proven in court, would stand up.

Where Does It Occur?

Security negligence can happen in any property where crime occurs, and there’s a failure to address it. A few clear examples of properties where this can occur include:

• Parking lots
• Hotels/Motels
• Dorms/Apartments/Rental homes with no locks on doors
• Bank ATMs
• Stairwells
• Public gathering spots such as bars & nightclubs

In some cases, the negligence may be a lack of proper enforcement of existing security. Security cameras that no longer work or even security guards that aren’t doing their job and consulting their phones are examples of security negligence of a more severe nature.

If a crime has victimized you due to a property’s security negligence, then that property has failed in its responsibility to protect you and should answer for it. Talk to a premises liability lawyer about your personal injury or crime victimization through security negligence.