A business owner has a duty to provide a safe place for its employees to work and its customers to visit. Since perpetrators of violent crimes are often not caught and are usually judgment proof, the victims will occasionally turn to the property owner for compensation for their injuries.
A recent study of premise security liability throughout the United States found that the main targets of these lawsuits were residential apartment building owners and hotel and motel owners.
A landowner’s duty may arise when the criminal conduct of a third party is the foreseeable result of a landowner’s negligence. When criminal conduct of a third party is foreseeable, the landowner has a duty to prevent injuries to invitees if it reasonably appears or should appear to them that other innocent persons may be injured on the property.
If a business is in a high crime area, the landowner may be required to take special safety measures such as hiring security personnel or installing security systems. Failure to do so may result in liability.