Opinion

The little-known facts of negligent security

Negligent security is a form of premises liability, in which an owner or operator of property can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property. Most negligent security cases boil down to two major issues that involve foreseeability and preventability:

(1) Was the event foreseeable?

While not all crimes can be reasonably anticipated, many can and are. The history of a particular area can be an incredibly accurate predictor of future criminal activity in that same area. A corollary to this concept is that criminal/security-related events that occur in one type of property (based on a variety of circumstances) may be more likely to occur at similar types of properties – in different locations. If a pattern of break-ins occurs in one location, I would argue that it would be negligent and careless for the owner/developer not to take preventative action to reduce the chances of similar activity occurring in their other locations.

(2) Was the event preventable?

Crime-prevention experts are likely to rely on the Routine Activity Theory and Rational Choice Theory.

– Routine Activity Theory states that crime occurs at a place when there is an intersection of: (a) a likely target; and (b) the absence of any deterrent, such as a guard or detection device; and of course, (c) a potential offender.

– Rational Choice Theory simply states that criminals commit their bad acts when the perceived benefits outweigh the perceived risks. So someone with an interest in preventing criminal activity should look to: (i) increase the perceived difficulty of carrying out a crime; (ii) reduce the perceived reward of that crime; and (iii) increase the perceived risks involved.

Crime prevention involves hiring an expert with an eye toward strategically placing or protecting ingress/egress points, landscaping, lighting, fencing, that maximizes visibility and communicates control of an area of concern. The idea is to, when possible, manipulate the environment to reduce or increase such factors as necessary.

It is a commercial-property owner’s responsibility to consider these variables when risk factors present themselves.

Jason Neufeld, a University of Miami School of Law graduate, is an associate with Neufeld, Kleinberg Pinkiert, PA (www.nkplaw.com) If you would like to speak to an attorney, please call 1-800-379-TEAM (8326) and ask for Jason Neufeld, or email him directly at jneufeld@nkplaw.com.

November 20, 2011

Reporters

Jason Neufeld

Contributing columnist


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami running back Mark Walton was rolling — until he got rolled on, or stepped on. Wa ...

For those concerned about the apparent on-field struggles of graduate transfer Dee Delaney, an All-A ...

This week’s Top 25 college-affiliated football polls, released Sunday afternoon, agreed on how to ta ...

A few quick thoughts (or second thoughts) after 14th-ranked UM’s 52-30 win against Toledo on Saturda ...

Miami Hurricanes senior wide receiver Braxton Berrios sprinted — in a joyous frenzy — for about 30 y ...

UM students fan out across South Florida to help local neighborhoods rebound from the impacts of Hur ...

Classes resume on the Coral Gables campus after the removal of 4 million pounds of landscape debris. ...

Students living in residential housing are returning to campus and classes with renewed resolve. ...

UM’s student-run ’Canes Emergency Response Team puts their training into action to assist with recov ...

UM students recount how they rode out the storm called Hurricane Irma. ...

Walton rushes for career-high 204 yards and Rosier has four touchdowns in Miami's comeback vict ...

The University of Miami volleyball team outlasted Virginia, 3-2, in Atlantic Coast Conference action ...

Sunday, Sinead Lohan became the first person in Miami women's tennis history to win the singles ...

The Miami women's tennis team concluded its opening weekend of play Sunday on the final day of ...

The University of Miami swimming team continued its weekend at All-Florida Invitational at the Steph ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.