Criminal activity can target individuals or businesses. Sometimes, members of the public get swept up in a criminal incident involving a business, like an attempted robbery at a liquor store. Other times, criminals choose to target the patrons of certain businesses.
Obviously, those who assault others or rob businesses are to blame for their own choices. However, some degree of criminal activity is reasonably predictable. Theft and other criminal misconduct are known risks in most industries. Businesses that open their premises to the public are – at least to a degree – obligated to take steps to reduce the risk of crime occurring on their property.
Failing to take basic, reasonable steps to prevent or deter crime might lead to a business being partially responsible for any criminal activity that harms visitors. How can a business or a landlord protect the public from criminal behavior?
1. With secure premises
At a bar or restaurant, having a bouncer out front to keep unruly patrons from entering can go a long way toward preventing criminal activity. Fencing around a parking lot could also help make the premises more secure and therefore less likely to be the target of those with criminal intentions. Secure entrances and even facilities that are not accessible to those without key cards are among the ways landlords and property owners can better secure the premises to reduce the risk of criminal activity.
2. Lighting and cameras
Installing proper lighting in both indoor and outdoor spaces can help deter criminal activity. Outdoor lighting can potentially reduce crime in those spaces by almost 40% according to some research. Visible cameras and notices about security systems and video recording can also help reduce the likelihood of criminal activity occurring at a particular business or property.
3. Security professionals
Just having a fence or a gate won’t necessarily deter criminal behavior, and those security systems can sometimes make it difficult for visitors to access a business. Having a security professional on hand is often necessary to screen those entering a business and troubleshoot issues with a fence or other security systems. The physical presence of a professional can go a long way toward deterring criminal activity.
Oftentimes, simple security efforts would possibly have made the difference for someone who has been recently victimized at a property. Pursuing a premises liability claim on the basis of negligent security could be an option for those who have been harmed by a criminal, in part, because a landlord didn’t invest in proper preventative measures.