When Security Wasn’t Secure Enough
Property owners and property possessors are expected to exercise reasonable security measures to ensure lawful entrants (i.e., patrons, guests, and tenants) are protected from foreseeable crimes.
In Arkansas, property owners are required by law to ensure reasonable security for patrons of public business or event. These rules also extend to areas such as residential properties and retail spaces.
If you believe negligent security played a part in your injury, the Little Rock premises liability lawyers at Minton Law Firm want to hear your story.
Negligent Security and Crime Rates in Arkansas
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), in 2016 Little Rock ranked eighth in the U.S. for violent crimes based on population and total crimes committed; the violent crime rate per 100,000 was approximately 712 people.
With violent crimes trending upward in Arkansas, the Little Rock Police Department encourages everyone to focus on prevention.
When it comes to security, prevention falls on the shoulders of property owners and managers. Reasonable security might include (but is not limited to):
- Functional locking mechanisms
- Adequate lighting
- Properly trained security personnel
- Operational security cameras
- Secured fences and gates
When inadequate security results in a crime or injury, the premises owner or possessor may be held liable for resulting damages. Criminal acts such as robbery, assault, and rape are common offenses in negligent security claims.
In many cases, the assailant is unknown; in others, the perpetrator may not be solely accountable for the crime.
Key Elements in Premises Security Cases
To prove a negligent security case, an attorney must establish certain elements:
- The plaintiff was on the property at the time of the injury
- The property owner(s) failed to provide reasonable security
- The property owner did not prevent a foreseeable crime
- The plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the property owner’s negligent security
Determining “reasonable security” and whether a crime is “foreseeable” are challenging issues often left to the investigative skills of lawyers.
Negligent security cases often rely on prior incidents (on the same property) and what (if any) actions were taken by the property owner following a similar crime or in preparation for what might be considered a foreseeable danger.
Compensation in Negligent Security Cases
Assessing damages in negligent security cases is done with the understanding that had the security been “reasonable,” the injury or crime would not have been committed or would have been less severe.
Compensation in negligent security cases might include money for:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If the victim dies due to injuries suffered in the incident, surviving family members may be able to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.
Common Factors in Negligent Security Cases
“Reasonable security” is the broad term at the center of every negligent security claim. Common examples of negligent security that often arise in related cases include but are not limited to:
- Poor hiring practices for security or premises staff
- Inadequate security training
- Failure to respond to an emergency
- Broken windows, doors, gates, fences, walls, etc.
- Failure to warn patrons/tenants about previous criminal acts or threats
- Defective locking mechanisms; failure to replace locks when required
- Insufficient or broken lighting
- Absent or poorly maintained security cameras
- Failure to provide adequate security personnel
- Failing to provide any security measure outlined in a lease or contractual agreement
Common sites with negligent security include:
- Apartment complexes
- Bars and restaurants
- College dorms
- Hotels and motels
- Office buildings
- Parking lots
- Sporting/entertainment venues
If you believe negligent security played a role in your injury, or if you suspect a property owner didn’t provide reasonable security and it resulted in a crime, the Minton Law Firm wants to help you get the justice you deserve and the compensation you need to recover. We welcome clients from the greater Little Rock and Benton areas, and throughout Arkansas.