Negligent Security / Crime Victims
Just as property and business owners have a duty to keep their patrons and guests safe from slipping and falling or from other accidental mishaps, they also have a duty to take preventative measures to keep their invitees safe from foreseeable crime. Victims of certain crimes, such as theft, assault, kidnapping, sexual battery, and other violent acts may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against the property or business owner when the act occurs on the premises of said negligent business or property owner. This can be in addition to any other civil lawsuit filed against the perpetrator of the crime. The reason behind the law that allows property owners to be held liable is to encourage businesses to invest in security infrastructure and routines to prevent crimes from occurring in the first place.
Types of Security That Should Be in Place
The security measures taken by any given property owner depend on the type of business they own, the location, the past history of crime in the area and other similar factors. For example, a convenience store open 24 hours a day has different standards than the legal security measure necessary for a mini golf course. As such, your attorney must be familiar with all the specific statutes that pertain to various types of premises. Common types of security infrastructure and actions include the following:
- Surveillance cameras;
- Ample lighting within the premises;
- Ample parking lot lighting;
- Bouncers for a bar or nightclub;
- Security guards;
- “Panic” buttons that call the police;
- Proper locking doors;
- Window signage displaying certain messages (necessary for convenience stores as pursuant to statute 812.173); and
- Having a certain number of employees on staff.
What You Must be Able to Prove
Just because you were the victim of a crime in a bar or shopping center does not mean that the party in control of the premises will be held liable. You must prove that they failed to take reasonable measures to prevent such crimes from occurring. For example, take lighting in parking lots. According to the National Institute of Justice, proper lighting in parking lots reduces crime and creates a secure atmosphere and “It is one of the few facility features that has been documented to reduce crime in parking facilities.” As such, it is well known by businesses that lighting deters crime from an otherwise (and very often) dangerous place: parking lots. Walmart, for example, has been notoriously cheap when it comes to parking lot lights and other security, resulting in thousands of violent crimes in their parking lots and plenty of lawsuits against them because such crimes are easy to foresee.
Call a Negligent Security Attorney in Tampa Bay
Establishments that do not do their duty to make their premises reasonably safe in terms of security can be deemed negligent in a civil court of law. Call the Tison Law Group today (813) 739-1776 to schedule a meeting with one of our negligent security attorneys if you need assistance in Tampa Bay.