Negligent Security in Parking Lots

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), more than one out of 10 property crimes occur in parking lots and garages. Strip malls, apartment complexes, shopping malls, hotels, stores, and office buildings often do not maintain adequate security for their parking lots, leaving patrons vulnerable to violent attacks and kidnappings. These instances often lead to negligent security cases if property owners fail to uphold their duties under premises liability law.

Premises Liability

Premises liability is the underlying legal theory for negligent security cases. It holds that property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of invitees and licensees. Invitees are those who are on the property for business purposes and licensees are those who are on the property with permission from the owner. Property owners are not liable for injuries caused to trespassers; those who are on the property illegally.

To succeed in a negligent security suit, a plaintiff must prove that they were on the property legally, that the property owner failed to offer reasonable security, and that they were injured due to the actions of a third party, which were reasonably foreseeable to the defendant.

To show that the third party’s actions were reasonably foreseeable to the defendant, the plaintiff must show that the property owner failed to exercise reasonable care to discover criminal activities that occurred previously or that the property owner failed to adequately warn visitors to avoid injury. In determining whether the third party’s actions were reasonably foreseeable to the defendant, courts will consider whether there were prior similar crimes that the property owner knew or should have known about.

What Constitutes Adequate Security?

According to the NCVS, restaurants, bars, and commercial buildings were the site of 39.1 percent of purse snatchings and pocket pickings. These crimes, as well as assaults and kidnappings, typically happen in parking lots that lack adequate security. Adequate security measures will vary according to the type of business. However, there are certain security features that are commonly implemented. Common security measures include:

  • Lighting: Crime is less likely to occur in well-lit areas. Security guards, employees, and customers are better able to see, stop, or report what is going on in parking lots if there is adequate lighting.
  • Design: Parking lots should be designed in such a way that all areas are visible to security guards, employees, and customers. Remote areas are ideal for kidnappings and other violent crimes.
  • Surveillance and Patrol: Surveillance cameras may deter criminal activity and help identify perpetrators. Security guards who patrol the area also serve to deter criminal activity. This type of measure should be taken at establishments such as 24-hour stores, strip clubs, malls, and large apartment complexes.

New Brunswick Negligent Security Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Represent Those Injured Due to Negligent Security in Parking Lots

If you were injured in a commercial parking lot due to negligent security, you may be entitled to full and fair compensation for your losses, such as medical expenses, lost wages, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering. Contact the experienced New Brunswick negligent security lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr to discuss your case. Contact us online or call us at 877-249-4600 for a free consultation.

We represent clients throughout New Jersey including in Middlesex County, including the communities of Highland Park, Somerset, New Brunswick, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia, New Jersey.