Preventing violence at apartments and nightclubs
By Attorney Joe North
DID YOU KNOW? The owners of apartment complexes and nightclubs are responsible for violent crimes committed on their property. Violent crimes are assaults, batteries, robberies, burglaries, sexual assault, stabbings, and shootings. These crimes are occurring too frequently and too close to home. Violent crimes are destroying too many lives and destroying too many families in our communities. These crimes are often committed because the criminals know they are not likely to be caught due to witnesses being afraid to cooperate. But the good news is that moving forward, some of the violence in our communities can be prevented.
Whether we are talking about crime at an apartment complex or crime at a nightclub, there are many things that can be done to prevent crime. If there is a history of crimes at the property location, then the law says that it is foreseeable or expected that these crimes may be committed on the property a-gain. Therefore, the owner is required by law to take steps to provide reasonable security measures to prevent these foreseeable crimes from happening again.
For example, for the safety of tenants and guests at an apartment complex, the owner of an apartment complex must do such things as having well trained security guards, surveillance video cameras, gates/fences, proper lighting, functioning locks, a crime watch program, warnings, etc. And as for the safety of patrons of a nightclub, the owner of the nightclub must do such things as having enough well trained security guards, metal detectors, surveillance video cameras, proper lighting, warnings, etc. And for the most part, these security measures are relatively inexpensive.
Everyone would agree that even though witnesses may not be willing to cooperate, criminals know that surveillance video is often used to solve crimes. Therefore, the presence of a surveillance camera will cause a potential criminal to think twice before committing a crime. Therefore, an inexpensive surveillance camera could save a life.
If the owner of an apartment complex or nightclub refuses to spend the money for adequate security measures, then the owner may be responsible for the injuries and/or death caused by violent crimes committed on the property. When there is a victim of violent crime because of inadequate security on the property, then the owner may be responsible to the victim and the victim’s family for money compensation for lost wages, medical bills, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.
Even though we cannot prevent 100% of the violent crimes, there are many things that can be done to prevent most of these crimes. Having reasonable security measures in place is definitely a step in the right direction towards preventing some of the violence. If we “put people ahead of profits,” we can prevent some of the violence.