Every day we hear about violent crimes that occur somewhere in America. In recent years, we’ve witnessed some of the worst massive violent crimes ever to happen—crimes as horrific as bombings and mass shootings that happen at public venues that are supposed to be safe. 2017’s terrible Las Vegas shooting is one such example. When tragic, violent crimes like shootings happen, many victims and family members are left with one question: “How could this tragedy have been prevented?”
There are many complicated answers to that question, but one of the most obvious has to do with the fact that public areas including businesses, corporations, schools, and entertainment venues all have a legal responsibility to keep guests safe. When businesses fail to live up to this responsibility and a violent crime occurs, it may be possible for victims and their families to file a lawsuit against the establishment. To do so, you’ll need the help of an experienced Columbia, MO negligent security lawyer from Thomas Law Offices.
How Negligent Security Measures Encourage Violent Crime
When we examine how and why violent crimes like shootings, bombings, or assault crimes happen, we all know, of course, that the person who caused the crime—the criminal—is 100% at fault for the incident. Shootings are caused by shooters and any type of violent crime is caused by an individual or group of attackers/perpetrators. When violent crimes occur, our laws come down hard on the criminal—and rightly so.
There’s another angle to examine after crimes of this type, however. Could actions have been taken to prevent the crime or lessen the amount of injuries and/or fatalities that resulted from it? Victims of violent crimes often find themselves asking questions like these:
- Why wasn’t there a security guard present?
- Why did the security team take so long to react to the incident?
- Why weren’t there security cameras in place?
- Why was the venue too dark to view the perpetrator?
- Why was the perpetrator allowed to bring a weapon inside?
- Why didn’t the venue have more than one emergency exit?
Questions like these belong to an area of law we call negligent or inadequate security law, which is one aspect of premises liability law. Premises liability laws govern business and property owners and state that they have a legal duty to make their properties and venues safe for visitors at all times. This includes keeping the area well-maintained, hiring security personnel if necessary, and taking adequate measures to ensure injuries do not happen unnecessarily.
By these laws, all businesses and entertainment venues must have adequate security measures in place including but not limited to the following:
- Security cameras that are in working order, in the correct locations, and properly monitored.
- Proper lighting in areas where security risks may be an issue such as entrance/exit areas, ticketing areas, hallways, stairways, lobbies, and restrooms.
- Parking lot surveillance.
- Item, bag, or body checks where appropriate to ensure weapons are not brought on the premises.
- Enough properly trained security personnel to protect visitors.
- Systems and checks in place to ensure security personnel receive background checks.
- Multiple exit routes that can be used in an emergency.
- Multiple emergency exit doors that can be easily accessed during an emergency.
- Systems in place that properly inform visitors about current security measures as well as any previous criminal activity and/or history.
If a business or venue is missing any of the above security measures, they may help place guests at risk. When an entertainment venue lacks proper security personnel, for example, the venue may be unable to stop a perturbator before an attack occurs. If it lacks proper lighting, a criminal might be encouraged to lurk in a dark hallway and try and harm others or perform a robbery. If a business doesn’t disclose prior criminal activity, guests may not be prepared to deal with emergencies that arise.
These security measures are also in place to minimize the damage/injuries should an attack or violent crime occur. If a large venue such as a concert hall lacks multiple emergency exits, for example, people may panic during an emergency, run to the one exit, and be unable to exit the venue quickly. This may cause additional guests to become injured.
When a business lacks proper security measures, the owners are not only endangering guests, but they’re giving criminals the “go-ahead” to commit a crime. It’s no secret that most criminals who perform violent crimes/mass shootings do thorough research regarding an ideal location. They purposely choose venues that will have a difficult time stopping them.
Businesses and entertainment venues need to be designed, maintained, and operated with emergencies and safety as a priority. To do otherwise is simply negligent—and may be grounds for a negligent security lawsuit.
How Can a Negligent Security Lawsuit Deliver Peace of Mind?
If you or a loved one has been injured or suffered from a wrongful death in the family due to a violent crime that could have been prevented or made less severe if a business or venue had proper security measures in place, you may be able to seek financial compensation by filing a lawsuit against the venue. This compensation can be used for recovery costs, loss of wage costs, pain and suffering costs, and more.
Filing an inadequate security lawsuit will not erase a tragedy that occurred, but it may allow you and your family to receive peace of mind as well as some sort of closure. It may also encourage businesses to place a higher priority on visitor safety, potentially preventing future criminal incidents. To learn more, get in touch with a Columbia, MO negligent security lawyer today.