When Negligent Security Leads to Crime

Tragically, crimes happen every day. People get robbed, and sometimes, more serious crimes, like rape, occur. Some people are assaulted or even killed.


In many of these cases, property owners are to blame. While they are not the ones doing the actual robbing, raping or killing, they are the ones allowing it to happen. That’s because customers have a right to safety when they go to a bar, restaurant, store, mall, church, concert or apartment complex. When a property owner ignores a safety hazard and this leads to a crime, this is called negligent security.


Negligent security is a type of premises liability case. A property owner can be held liable for a crime caused by a lack of security, just like they can be considered responsible for a slip and fall accident or injuries caused by broken stairs, faulty elevators, and broken sidewalks.


This begs the question: Why not sue the person who committed the crime? Wouldn’t they have the highest degree of liability? In theory, yes, but in some cases, the suspect is never found, Plus, business owners are supposed to have insurance for these situations. A victim has a better chance of recovering financial compensation from the business owner than a person who likely has little assets.


Proving Negligent Security


Negligent security occurs when a property owner fails to warn visitors of possible criminal activity or does not have proper security measures in place. It refers to a lack of adequate security, which is hard to define, as it varies from place to place. In any case, a person will need to prove that they were lawfully present on the defendant’s property, the defendant failed to provide reasonable security, the plaintiff suffered injuries due to this lack of security and suffered damages as a result.


A key element is foreseeability. If a person was raped in a parking lot in a neighborhood with a low crime rate and no rapes or similar activity in the past, then how could the business owner have known that a rape would occur? In this case, the victim may not be successful in suing the owner for negligent security. However, if rapes occurred on the premises several times a year and the business owner failed to have security in place to prevent future rapes, then they could be held liable for their negligence.


The good news is that if a victim and their lawyer can adequately prove that the business owner was negligent in its security, large recoveries are often available. It is not uncommon for a judge to award multi-million-dollar verdicts. If you were a victim of a crime caused by a lack of security, a seven-figure payout is a possibility.


Get Hurt? Get Gary!


You have the right to a reasonable amount of safety when patronizing stores, restaurants, bars, and other establishments. If you have been assaulted, raped or robbed while entering or leaving these premises, you may be able to sue for negligent security.


The Falkowitz Law Firm can help determine liability and help you understand your rights to compensation. Schedule a consultation by contacting our office at 844-GET-GARY.

Gary P. Falkowitz is the Managing Partner and Founding Attorney of the Falkowitz Law Firm PLLC‚ one of the premiere personal injury law firms in New York. Gary received his J.D., in 2005 from St. John’s University School of Law and served as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.

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