As an owner of land or property, there is a certain security level that is expected to ensure that third parties are not at risk when on their property. If a criminal or violent act occurs, the victim can sue the landowner or manager if it is found that they failed to provide adequate security that could have prevented or reduced the crime’s severity. For example, suppose a parking garage fails to provide sufficient lighting or security. In that case, if someone is robbed, the owner could be sued for negligent security. This type of lawsuit is most commonly brought against shopping mall owners, schools, garages, retail stores, and hospitals.
In order to successfully sue, there are certain things the victim must be able to prove. The first is that they were on the property where the crime occurred legally. The plaintiff must also be able to prove that the owner failed to provide or maintain a level of security against “foreseeable criminal activity” at the property and that they suffered directly as a result. Foreseeable criminal activity is essential in negligent security cases; it references whether similar crimes have happened in the area around the property.
An example of negligent security is if the locks on many doors in an apartment building are not functional. Although several tenants have complained, the landlord made no effort to repair or replace the locks. An armed assailant broke into the building and attacked a tenant in his apartment. Or, if a bar is known to routinely become overly crowded or have patrons that regularly become rowdy and fight and the bar’s owners have never employed security guards, and employees are not trained on security procedures. During one altercation, a patron sustained a major head wound and several broken bones.