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What Is Inadequate Security?


Business owners have a lot to worry about. Not only are there financial concerns to consider, but they also have to worry about the safety of their customers. Customers could slip and fall, get injured by falling items, or suffer injuries from an elevator or escalator.

Another type of premises liability issue that business owners do not always think about is crime. When a customer is the victim of a crime on the business’ premises, such as assault, rape, or theft, the business can be held liable under the laws of inadequate security. However, whether or not a business can be held liable is based on duty of care.

Duty of Care 

Under the concept of duty of care, individuals and businesses are legally required to act in the best interests of others. This means they must take reasonable steps to not cause harm to other people.

A lack of care can lead to accidents and injuries. However, in order to hold the business liable and obtain compensation, it must be proven that:

  • The business failed to adequately maintain the condition of the property.
  • The business knew or should have known about hazardous conditions.
  • The business failed to fix the problem or warn visitors.

Having reasonable security in place may also be a requirement based on the location and crime history of the business. Business owners have a legal obligation to protect visitors from foreseeable crimes by having adequate security in place. When a lack of security causes a visitor to become a victim of a crime, then the business can be held liable.


Foreseeability needs to be proven in negligent security cases. For the most part,  foreseeability is based on the presence of prior crimes of a similar nature at the same location and the owner was aware of them. For example, if there were five assaults at the same location in the past year, then it’s reasonable to expect that an assault could occur again in the near future. Based on that information, the business owner should have measures in place to prevent future assaults, such as security guards and additional lighting.

However, when it comes to adequate security, it’s a vague concept. What constitutes adequate security can vary from place to place, so there are no hard and fast rules. If you are concerned about whether or not you are doing enough to protect customers, you should contact an attorney. 

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer Today

Inadequate security is a safety concern that business owners and customers alike need to be aware of. Criminal acts such as assault and rape can cause severe physical and emotional injuries and distress.

Injured while at a place of business? See how a Morristown premises liability attorney from The Law Offices of Michael P. Burakoff can help. Call (973) 455-1567 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation with our office.



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