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Negligent Security & Property Maintenance
Many times a physical assault of a person is a result of a criminal being provided an opportunity to attack. Broken lights in a darkened parking lot, downed fences or lack of fences, and insufficient locks or other failures in security measures provide dangerous opportunities for criminals to lay in wait where they know people will be vulnerable to attack. Property owners and managers and business operators have a responsibility to their tenants and customers to eliminate these opportunities and take reasonable precautions to give warning in areas they knew or should have known to be prone to criminal activity. Although it is well recognized that all crime cannot be prevented, many opportunities can be eliminated and many attacks prevented if classic red flags and warning signs are heeded. However, proving a property owner, manager or business operator is responsible can be difficult. These claims require an intimate knowledge of industry standards and working with experts specializing in criminology, foreseeability and risk assessment, law enforcement and property management. As with most claims, success depends on a prompt, thorough and professional investigation.
Five things to do
- Obtain as many names and phone numbers of potential witnesses of the attack and tenants living or working at the property as possible before they move or quit.
- Take pictures and videos of your injuries and all apparent lapses in security including broken lights, downed or missing fences, broken or missing locks and overgrown landscaping.
- Cooperate with law enforcement officers and investigators.
- Create a listof known prior crimes in the area and a narrative of what happened to you.
- Create a list of prior complaints given to the property owners or managers regarding lapses in security measures or criminal activity or loitering.
Five things not to do
- Do not give recorded statements to the property managers, owners or business operators where the attack occurred.
- Do not confront the attacker if you learn who it is. Report their name and identity to law enforcement.
- Do not post details of your ordeal to social media sites or services.
- Do not be hesitant or afraid to seek counseling for anxiety, stress or fear resulting from the attack. Many times the psychological trauma of an attack can be the most damaging injury.
- Do not wait to have the matter investigated properly. The property managers and owners will begin to investigate the day they receive a report of the incident.