Violent crime is increasing. If a violent assault occurs in your business, your company may be held liable. Recent rulings show that lawsuits against companies after violent crimes have had mixed results. Strong security measures may be needed to protect the people in your company and to reduce your responsibilities.
The recent increase in violent crime
The FBI says that violent crime increased in 2020. Compared to 2019, another 67,000 violent crimes occurred in 2020, and homicides increased by 30%.
It seems that violent crime has continued to increase since then, at least in some areas. Fox News Digital looked at crime data from several metropolitan areas and found that violent crime has increased from 5% to 40% in 2022.
There have also been more reports of organized retail crime. According to Buy Safe America, these crimes sometimes become violent; 86.2% of retailers say that an employee has been verbally threatened and 75.9% say that an employee has been physically assaulted.
Active shooting incidents are also up. The FBI says that active shooting incidents increased by 52.5% between 2020 and 2021. Trade areas are most likely to be the subject of an active shooter, and almost half of all 2021 active shooting incidents occurred in a business environment that was open to pedestrians.
Responsibility after a violent assault
Following a violent incident, the victims and their families can sue the company where the attack took place. These lawsuits often claim that the company has failed in its duty to maintain a safe environment.
Courier news says that at least three lawsuits have been filed against a Kroger grocery store for a shooting that occurred in 2018. The lawsuits claim that the company had no policy that prevented people from carrying firearms in the store despite previous shooting incidents.
Trials against companies where violent abuse has taken place are not always successful. According to ABC 57 Newsa lawsuit was filed against Martin’s Supermarkets after a customer fatally shot a woman in the store, but the judge gave Martin’s Supermarkets the advantage and ruled that the shooting could not be considered predictable and that the business had no obligation to protect.
However, some trials have been successful. A Georgia court has upheld a $ 42.75 million fine against CVS Pharmacy for a shooting that took place in the parking lot. According to Legal news line, a man was shot several times and sustained serious and long-term injuries, and the lawsuit claimed that CVS failed to implement adequate lighting, security guards and other basic security measures despite previous armed robberies. Employees had previously requested security guards and some employees testified that they were not surprised that someone had been shot on the premises.
Increased security and limits local liability
Companies can face local liability processes after a violent incident. Regardless of whether these lawsuits succeed or not, the lawsuit will require resources and the company’s reputation may be adversely affected.
Implementing basic security measures can help prevent violent incidents and reduce liability. This can be especially important in areas that are known to have high crime rates. Due to the recent increase in violent crime, this may cover more areas than before.
This is a good time to review your security measures. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you provide adequate lighting? Do not forget parking lots, trash cans, back exits and alleys around the company.
- Do you have security cameras? According to Municipal technical advice, surveillance cameras have been shown to reduce vehicle crime in parking garages. Surveillance cameras are most effective in preventing other types of crime in combination with other security measures.
- Do you have security guards? If not, consider whether security guards are needed, taking into account local crime rates and past incidents.
- Do your policies and procedures prioritize security? For example, do your policies require employees to enter unsafe areas on their own to take out garbage?
- Have you trained your staff on how to respond to incidents safely? Workers should know what to do if they see or suspect a crime or if a violent attack occurs.
- Do your employees feel safe? If your employees request additional security and you ignore these requests, this information can be used to establish liability.
Strong security measures and secure policies can help your company reduce its liability in the event of a violent assault. But with violent crime on the rise, it is more important than ever to have solid insurance. BNC can help your company manage risks and secure insurance coverage. Read more.