A customer or other invitee coming onto the premises or property of another may have a basis to sue for injuries suffered as a reasonably foreseeable consequence of a failure to provide appropriate security. Businesses operating in crime ridden areas have a legal obligation to conduct a comprehensive security survey in order to detect changing crime trends, and to plan for changing existing security measures taken at the business. A comprehensive security survey involves obtaining input from various sources within and external to the subject business and general area crime, including property specific crime data, police data, and security measures installed.
Taking the time to conduct a security survey is necessary in order to understand a business’s crime – security situation, and the limitations of the security measures in place. A comprehensive physical security survey seeks to collect all relevant security and crime data regarding a store or business and the immediate surrounding area. The failure to conduct a reasonable security survey makes it impossible to make reasonable security decisions. Without such a survey, a decision that no security guards are required becomes arbitrary and in ignorance of available data.
However, with a survey, reasonable and cost effective plans can be made, such as undertaking to install uniformed security officers. A security officer’s duties would include patrolling the interior of the premises, maintaining a frequent presence at the front door/cashier area, and make periodic inspections outside the front door to observe patrons and potential lawbreakers. By being frequently present at the front door/cashier area the security officer provides a visible deterrent value. A security officer could also observe and stop shoplifters leaving a store with obvious unpaid items. A store that takes no steps to deter shoplifting is a store that marks itself with an “open season” sign as far as criminal activity is concerned. A security officer would also be able to respond to employee requests for assistance in the event of an employee-patron confrontation.
In short, a business owes a customer a duty of reasonable care to prevent a reasonably foreseeable criminal act. A person injured as a reasonably foreseeable and probable consequence of a failure to provide appropriate security against such criminal attacks can sue for damages. If you have been injured as a result of a criminal attack on a business premises, please call, we are experienced in handling such cases.