Sexual Assaults and Negligent Security
Florida has an extremely high number of sexual assaults and rapes. Statistics provided for a recent year by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement reveal the following:
- 7,537 – number of rapes in Florida
- 153 – number of rapes by firearm in Florida
- 137 – number of rapes by cutting instrument in Florida
- 5,898 – number of rapes by hands, fists, feet in Florida
- 1,348 – “other” rapes in Florida
These statistics are appalling. In addition, a great number of sexual assaults are simply not reported, often out of embarrassment, humiliation, fear or threat.
Property Owners Have a Duty to Safely Maintain Premises
While it is not known how many sexual assaults and rapes occur as a result of negligent security, it is certain that negligent security contributes to the extremely high numbers noted above. Property owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care and safeguard the premises for residents, guests, invitees and others.
Sexual assaults can and do occur on all types of property, including the following:
- Private homes and estates, apartment complexes, condominiums
- Hotels, motels, inns and short-term rental units
- Bars, restaurants, taverns, drinking establishments
- Nightclubs, gentlemen’s clubs/strip clubs
- Public restrooms
- Stores, businesses, office buildings
- Malls, shopping centers
- Parking garages, parking lots
- Recreational vehicle parks, trailer parks
- Outdoor camping grounds
- Tourist locations and attractions
- Universities, college campuses, fraternity houses
- Gambling establishments, casinos, etc.
- Arenas, sports stadiums, concert halls, venues of all kinds
- Gas stations
- In vehicles, taxicabs, trains, buses
- Truck stops
- Parks, museums, movie theaters
The Duty of a Property Owner – Reasonable Precautions to Safeguard Premises and Prevent Sexual Assaults
The property owner has a duty to ensure the safety of residents, guests, visitors and others on the premises. As stated in our other articles on negligent security, there are many preventative measures that can and should be taken, including, but not limited to the following:
- Ensure that the property is safely protected from intruders with properly installed and functioning gates, locks, fences, doors and entries
- Security personnel, including security guards who continually patrol the premises
- Security patrol cars
- Install functioning security cameras in all areas of the property
- Ensure that the cameras record the activities on the premises; save and catalog the recordings
- Install a security office or booth on the premises
- Security communications systems
- Warning signs
- Bright lighting throughout the property
- Check the identification of visitors before they are allowed entry onto private property
- All other reasonable security measures should be taken to safeguard the premises from sexual and physical assaults, robberies and crimes
Evidence That Supports Negligence on the Part of the Property Owner
In many instances the property owner knew or should have known that their property was unsafe for residents, guests, visitors and others:
- Did the property owner know of previous sexual assaults on the property?
- Was there a reasonable certainty that the same type of offense could occur again?
- Did the property owner ignore the obvious?
- Were there reports of sexual assaults and other crimes on the property before?
- Were there known rapists on the property?
- Did the property owner allow registered sexual offenders on the property?
- Was this in violation of any local, county, state or federal ordinances or statutes?
You can reach Miami Personal Injury Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at [email protected].