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Types of Negligent Security Incidents: Identifying Common Scenarios and Factors in Negligent Security Cases

Donald Singleton
July 24, 2023

When you visit a business or someone else’s property, you expect a certain level of safety and security. While you can’t expect a property owner to keep you safe from every negative event, you still have an expectation that the property owner will take reasonable steps to keep you safe.

This expectation is valid. Under premises liability laws, property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety and care of guests on their property.

When those property owners fail to uphold that duty, it can give rise to a legal claim. Negligent security claims arise when property owners or businesses fail to uphold their duty of care by having lackluster security measures and this lack of security ultimately leads to an incident. There are many different types of negligent security incidents.

Below, we’ll go over 10 of the most common types of negligent security incidents that could give rise to a legal claim. We’ll also discuss what types of property owners can be held legally liable for these types of claims and the most common types of injuries reported after negligent security incidents.

1. Theft, Robbery, and Burglary

One of the most common types of negligent security incidents happens when a person’s property is targeted as a result of a lack of security. In general, a thief is an opportunistic criminal. They don’t simply steal everything, but rather, they look for people, places, and property that appear to be easy targets.

A property owner can leave you vulnerable to being targeted when they have lackluster security measures in place. For instance, if you live an apartment complex that regularly fails to maintain the premises, doesn’t have working security cameras, and has poor lighting, then that might be considered prime real estate for an interested robber.

If a theft does occur, then the apartment complex owner may be held legally liable for failing to properly secure the premises in a way that protects tenants from theft.

2. Assault and Battery

Assault and battery incidents make up almost half of all negligent security claims. Assault and battery attacks happen when on party physically harms or threatens to physically harm someone else. This act of force usually coincides with other crimes like theft but can also happen due to a lack of security in general. Sadly, violent attacks can occur for no other reason than that the victim appears to be alone and an easy target.

3. Sexual Abuse, Assault, or Rape

Unfortunately, one out of six ( women in America have been the victim of an attempted or completed rape. With statistics like those, it’s more important than ever that property owners take steps to ensure the safety of women who will be on their property.

To prevent these types of attacks, property owners can install working cameras, ensure adequate lighting is in place at night, reduce the amount of hidden, secluded, isolated areas on their property, and possibly hire security guards depending on whether crimes have happened in the area before.

4. Shootings, Stabbings, and Murder

Tragically, a lack of security measures can result in shootings, stabbings, and even murders.

5. Crowd Control Issues

One of the more recently trending types of negligent security incidents involves crowd control issues. As you can imagine, any crowd-generating event could potentially cause security issues. The more people in attendance at an event, the more likely an incident is to occur. From theft to assaults, event venues have an obligation to take reasonable steps to prevent these incidents from occurring.

Usually, event venues meet this legal duty of care by hiring security guards, but that isn’t always enough to prevent an issue. In the infamous Astroworld fiasco, for instance, negligent security resulted in several fatalities and serious injuries for several concert goers.

6. Failure to Secure Residents in a Nursing Home

A nursing home has a duty to provide for the care and safety of all the residents in their care. If the nursing home fails to secure their residents and an incident occurs, then that can lead to a legal claim. A nursing home can fail to uphold their duty by:

  • Failing to secure the property
  • Not vetting guests and visitors that have access to residents
  • Not having adequate security measures (cameras, lighting, etc.)
  • Failure to hire staff to monitor residents
  • 7. Failure to Secure Residents in a Dorm Room

Schools and universities also have a legal duty to provide for the safety and care of residents who reside in dorm rooms and school-provided housing units. Schools and universities are expected to keep residents safe by ensuring adequate locks are on all the dorms, proper cameras are installed, and adequate lighting is available in all the common areas. A failure to secure the premises could result in a negligent security claim if a resident gets harmed in a security incident.

8. Car Theft and Parking Garage Problems

Parking garages are notorious areas for criminal activity, so it’s important for parking garage owners and parking lot owners to always take reasonable steps to avoid crime in these areas. Adequate security measures include appropriate lighting, security cameras, and routine security checks. Without proper security measures, individuals who use the parking lot or parking garage may be more vulnerable to experiencing car theft, car break-ins, property damage, assaults, and other forms of crime.

9. Attacks that Happen on Public Transportation or Public Property

When you’re on public property or taking advantage of public transportation, you expect a reasonably level of safety. Attacks that occur on these properties might lead to a successful negligent security claim when the government agency responsible for the public transportation or public property hasn’t taken reasonable steps to stop attacks and ensure your safety. Keep in mind that filing a legal claim against a governmental agency will always be tricky, so it’s best to consult with a lawyer if you think that your negligent security claim might involve the government or a governmental agency.

10. Injuries that Happen Due to Broken, Insufficient, or Blocked Emergency Exits

One of the least talked about types of negligent security incidents can happen when a business fails to uphold their duty to provide or maintain emergency exits in their buildings. In the event of an emergency, like a criminal attack, individuals may flock to an insufficient emergency exit. If they’re unable to get out of the building, then the property owner may be held legally liable for the losses they endure as a result of the criminal attack.

Common Types of Injuries that Result from Negligent Security Claims

Injuries sustained in negligent security claims can range from mild to severe depending on the circumstances of the attack. Often, negligent security claims arise when the attack is serious, and the injuries are substantial. Injuries may include physical wounds like broken bones, brain damage, spinal injuries, and more, or emotional wounds that manifest as anxiety disorders, PTSD, or similar disorders.

Other Types of Losses that Stem From Negligent Security Claims

Injuries lead to medical expenses, but those aren’t usually the only losses that stem from negligent security claims. Depending on the situation, the impacted person may experience a windfall of financial losses after the incident. For instance, if the injuries sustained are substantial, then the injured person may not be able to return to work for several weeks, months, or even permanently. This can lead to a loss of wages or a complete loss of income.

Property can also get stolen or damaged in security incidents. What’s more, a person who experiences a violent crime might experience significant emotional distress after the attack. When that happens, the injured individual can seek out damages in the form of pain and suffering if they seek out a claim.

Types of Businesses and Establishments that Could Be Held Liable in Negligent Security Claims

Under premises liability laws, any property owner who invites a guest onto their property has a legal duty to provide for the care and safety of those guests. This duty of care extends to business and establishments. The following types of business can be held liable in negligent security claims:

  • Apartment complex owners
  • Owners of shopping centers, retail stores, or malls
  • Restaurants
  • Bar owners
  • Governments (when the properties are government-owned)
  • Care facilities
  • Event venues
  • Owners of office buildings
  • Hotels
  • Owners of parking lots or parking garages
  • Schools or universities

Do You Believe Negligent Security Played a Role in Your Recent Incident?

Have you recently experienced one of these types of negligent security incidents or a similar incident where you believe negligent security played a role in your attack? Are your losses adding up? If so, then it makes the most sense to discuss your situation in more detail with a qualified negligent security lawyer in your area.

A negligent security attorney will listen to the facts surrounding your claim and help you get a better understanding of whether premises liability and negligent security laws can help you file a claim for compensation. Your attorney will also listen to you explain the extent of your losses. Considering both of these factors, you’ll be in a better position to make an informed decision on whether seeking a negligent security claim is in your best interests or not.

Are you ready to get started? Get in touch with our experienced and qualified attorneys now to schedule a case review.

Donald Singleton

Donald Singleton


A Georgia native, Don founded Singleton Law Firm in 1999 as a continuation of his lifetime commitment to serving his state and community. He has concentrated his trial practice to representing victims of serious injury and wrongful death arising out of trucking, car, bus and motorcycle accidents, premises liability and a wide variety of other causes.

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