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.