Many states differ on when a landowner may be held liable for negligent or inadequate security. Crime victims may be subjected to rape, sexual assault, murdern, or shooting. Propert owners have a legal duty to provide a reasonable safe premises for customers and the public. Indiana law requires landowners to take steps to prevent reasonably foreseeable acts of third-parties when they know or should know that cirminal activity has occurred on the premises.
Security Trade Practices–Do Not Establish Legal
Standard of Care
Allen v. Ramada Inn, Inc., 778 P.2d 291 (Colo. 1989)
Allen was a guest at a motel where she occupied a garden-level room. An intruder apparently entered her room through a window from which security bars had been removed and raped the plaintiff. The motel was allegedly in a high crime area and no window stops were placed on the windows.
During trial, the defense introduced testimony concerning the security measures and features of other hotels within the city. Plaintiff did not contest the introduction of this information but asked that a jury instruction be included stating that local security trade practices do not establish the legal standard of care. The trial judge declined to include the instruction and was subsequently reversed on appeal.
Liability Significance: The notion that if the adjacent property has a particular type of protection, so therefore I must have identical protection, is incorrect. The legal standard of care is the totality of the security measures and not any one specific measure.