While high-profile acts of violence have captured national and global media attention, there are also countless other incidents of crime and violence that go unnoticed. These crimes of property and person, ranging from thefts to assault, if not appropriately prepared for or left unchecked can have a significant impact on a property owner’s liability and reputation in the marketplace.
The ability to anticipate risk, recognize early indicators of criminal activity, and alert key decision makers to impending trouble is a priceless gift. Determining if your property is or may soon find itself in harm’s way should be a topic of great importance to any organization.
Foreseeability Can Determine LiabilityForeseeability is a legal concept often used to determine if a party is negligent in failing to act reasonably. A property owner has a duty to exercise “reasonable” care to protect against “reasonably” foreseeable criminal conduct. This duty is applicable to all types of business where you have business invitees: retailers, condominium associations, apartments, hotels, restaurants, bars, malls, etc.
Failure to anticipate emerging criminal trends, patterns, or risks could ultimately support a finding of liability or negligence against a property owner if a crime occurs on the premises. If a property owner should have anticipated criminal activity on their property, and such incidents can create a duty of care on the part of the owner to ensure adequate and responsive security measures are in place. An owner can also be expected to meet the customary standards in their region for similar types of property and premises security.
A property owner’s failure to provide adequate protection can result in both financial and reputational loss to an organization-or even loss of live. This is why risk predictions—monitoring of criminal trends and taking appropriate action—are critical to reducing the risk of a property owner.
While it may be difficult to accurately predict the next occurrence of crime or violence that may concern your property with any certainty or guarantee, perhaps this information will encourage you to channel your inner “Nostradamus” to mitigate the potential risk of third-party criminal activity.