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How Can Security Be Negligent?

Usually, when a property points out that it has security measures in place, this is a sign of confidence to the visitors or, in some cases, the residents. Security precautions are a proven deterrent in reducing crime property experiences, but that’s only if the security works as intended.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where things don’t always play out according to plan. Sometimes, the presence of security doesn’t help. In the worst-case scenarios, they may even exacerbate a bad situation. There are several ways this can happen, and here’s what you should know about how negligent security can affect you.

Where Do You Find Security?

Security systems and personnel can be found at several locations, including:

• Retail properties like shopping malls
• Residential properties such as apartment complexes
• Commercial properties like office buildings
• School grounds & college campuses
• Hotels
• Parks or other recreational zones
• Parking lots

The goal of security systems or personnel is to make an area safer.

How Do Security Systems Work?

Security systems and personnel are designed to do three things.

Deter Crime

In many instances, the mere presence of a security system or security officer is enough to prevent crime from taking place. A surveillance camera, alarm, or security guard dramatically increases the risk of criminal activity being spotted and a possible arrest. Criminals tend to avoid areas that increase risk.

Limit Criminal Activity

In the event a crime does take place, security systems can mitigate the impact of a crime. Someone breaking into a car, for example, can’t take the time to comb the car or strip it for parts if a security guard investigates. Similarly, an attempted assault and rape of a woman in a parking lot can be stopped by security guard intervention.

Assist Investigation

Mechanisms such as surveillance cameras provide more useful information for investigation and prosecution than eye witness testimony. While memory is fallible, a video camera is not. Suppose it gets a clear shot of license plates or identifying characteristics of a criminal. In that case, these can be turned over to police to aid the investigation and even be submitted into evidence for later prosecution.

How It Goes Wrong

Negligent security is when security measures fail to uphold their responsibility or even make a bad situation worse. For example, surveillance cameras are supposed to record all activity and alert someone monitoring the system that there is a problem, and a security response may be required.

However, suppose a security camera is not working, and the property owners decide not to repair it to save costs. In that case, if a crime occurs because of a non-functioning security camera, no intervention is possible, and, worse yet, there is no video evidence to assist in an investigation.

Even security guards can fail in their duties. Someone that is robbed or even assaulted and raped while security guards are on the property, but watching television and not responding to calls for help, for example, would be extreme negligence. In the worst cases, a security guard may mistake a legitimate visitor for a criminal and harass or even shoot and injure them.

Proving Negligence

Negligent or inadequate security must be verifiable in a court of law. If specific requirements are met, they satisfy the checklist for inadequate or negligent security, and the victim—if still alive—may be financially compensated for the negligence. To bring a security issue to the courts and win, specific criteria have to be in play.

Duty Of Care

Whether for residential or commercial properties, a property owner has a responsibility to ensure some minimum level of safety for visitors. This is referred to as “duty of care,” and it must be clear that a property owner had a duty of care toward a visitor.

Legitimate Visitation

Criminals do not have the same rights as legitimate visitors. So if a watchdog attacks a thief entering the property, this is not considered a breach of law. However, if a visitor is allowed on the premises and that same watchdog attacks and injures the person, that may be negligent security.

Foreseeable Crime

Suppose a crime had a likelihood of happening in the area, and this risk was ignored. In that case, it is the responsibility of the property owners if someone is victimized. If you or someone you know has met these requirements, talk to a personal injury lawyer about a negligent security lawsuit.

Stephen M. Fernandez developed a strong belief in justice and fairness in public policy while earning his Political Science degree prior to attending law school. Since joining the Florida Bar Association in 2004, Stephen Fernandez has combined his background in public policy, business administration and civil law to serve as a highly effective trial lawyer fighting for Florida's injured, working hard every day to make sure his clients get what they are owed.

How Can Security Be Negligent?

Goldman Babboni Fernandez
Murphy & Walsh

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