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What Is a Negligent Security Case (Also Known As Inadequate Security or Premises Liability Case)?

June 08, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 175

If you are a victim of violence in a parking garage, in the parking lot of a shopping center, or in a friend's housing/apartment complex, could the commercial owner of these types of properties be liable for your injuries? The answer, as is so often the case in a legal context, is maybe.

These types of cases are referred to as negligent security, premises liability, or inadequate security cases and will require the hiring of a negligent security attorney.

The analysis a personal injury / negligent security attorney performs in deciding whether or not to take this kind of case involves answering two questions: was the incident reasonably foreseeable or was the incident reasonably preventable by the owner of the premises? And of course, should they have taken action if the violent incident in question was, in fact, reasonably foreseeable or preventable.

(1) Was the Violent Crime Foreseeable?

While not all inadequate security offenses can be reasonably be anticipated, many can and are. The police record of a particular location can be an amazingly precise forecaster of upcoming illegal activity in that same place. A corollary to this idea is that criminal/security-related activities that happen in one type of real estate asset (based on a wide range of circumstances) may be more likely to happen in similar demographic areas with similar qualities - but in different places. For example, one developer/owner may own several condominium complexes situated in different geographical areas, but the condos are often the same or identical style, have identical safety measures in place, and that attract people with similar incomes. This is because, many developers like to specialize - if they have had great success with luxury condominiums, the developer is likely to focus on building high-end condos. On the other hand, the same can be said for developing mobile-home parks.

If there is a pattern of security breaches (break ins, violence) happening in one place, it would be irresponsible and reckless for the owner/developer not to take precautions to prevent identical violence or theft-activity happening in their other properties with similar qualities.

An often quoted study conducted by Spelman et al, called "Crime Analysis" concludes that police-calls-for-service reports are a highly precise forecasters of future criminal activity. A personal injury attorney familiar with inadequate security cases will dig deeper and pull crime grids, call reports, incident reports, and local ordinance violations. Such a firm would also be able to subpoena security/maintenance records, video footage, and property management reports. Police records that report similar crimes will allow the lawyer to attempt to interview prior victims and witnesses to prior crimes in the same or nearby property. As you would probably guess, prior victims will have an interest in talking to the plaintiff/victim's attorney if for no other reason than to finally get the negligent property owner to take corrective action.

(2) Was the Violent Crime Preventable?

A negligent security attorney will likely hire an expert who will explain to a jury the Rational Choice Theory of crime prevention or the Routine Activity Theory of Crime Prevention.

Rational Choice. This theory proposes that when the apparent risks involved in committing a crime are outweighed by the apparent benefits of committing that same crime, logically (and statistically) the crime is more likely to occur. Therefore, a property owner should always try to heighten the potential risk and minimize the potential reward involved with committing a violent crime on that particular property. This is done by manipulating the environment (installing or improving barriers such as fences, gates, locks, and hedges/landscaping. This might include hiring roving patrols, setting up readily-visible security cameras, etc...

Routine Activity. When someone looking to commit a crime comes across a target with a lack of deterrents, that crime is more likely to occur. Manipulating elements such as those listed above, in addition to ensuring there is plenty of lighting to enhance visibility serves to signal a potential criminal that an area has or lacks control and security.

The criminal-prevention expert will be familiar with ASIS - the industry-leading security organization that publishes General Security Risk Guidelines relating to: security officer training, security officer and property employee background-screening guidelines; violence-deterrent guidelines. This will be in addition to being familiar with the Illuminating Engineering Society's lighting-standard guidelines for a variety of commercial and residential properties.

If you would like to speak to a Miami personal injury attorney, please call 800.379.TEAM (8326) and ask for Jason Neufeld. Or you can email Jason directly at: jneufeld@nkplaw.com

Source: EzineArticles
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