Under the legal theory of premises liability, business owners are expected to take reasonable measures to keep their visitors safe. This includes injuries caused by criminals on your property. If a crime victim accuses you of negligence, then one of the critical issues the courts will consider is whether or not you could have foreseen the crime. After all, you can also take measures to prevent crimes that you can foresee. Here are the elements used to determine the foreseeability of crime on your premises:
The Nature of Your Premises
The nature of the premises determines the type of crimes it attracts. Some of the factors that determine the nature of your property include
- whether it is open to the public
- the type of clientele that frequents it
- your hours of operations
- the number of clients it attracts
For example, a shopping mall that operates round the clock may attract more crimes than a dentist practice that sticks to normal business hours. Another example is a bar that opens from evening to morning and targets younger patrons; such a place may experience more problems than a coffee shop that closes its doors in the early hours of the night.
Where Your Business is Located
The location of a property is one of the biggest factors in the determination of its susceptibility to crime. This is because the location determines the population density, the surrounding businesses and other factors that influence crime. For example, a business in a highly populated part of the city may experience more crime than if the same business is located in a less populated area.
Of course, most crimes can occur anywhere, but certain crimes are more common in some areas than others. For example, a shop on the ground floor of a multistory building is likely to experience more robbery cases than an apartment on the top floor of the same building.
The Crime Demographics
Government authorities such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) collect and analyze crime reports on a regular basis. Such reports include the
- number of crimes
- type of crimes
- age of offenders
- type of people or businesses targeted
These crime demographics can be used to determine whether or not you should have foreseen the crime that occurred on your property. For example, if your part of town is documented as having numerous incidences of parking lot carjacking, and you have a shopping mall in the area, then you should foresee the crime in your parking lot.
These elements should also help you to augment your security measures. For example, if parking lot crimes are rampant in your area, then you can improve the lighting in your parking bay, install CCTV cameras, and hire additional security guards. If a charge of negligence has been brought against your business, contact a lawyer at an establishment such as Owen Law Firm.