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Costs of Failure To Provide Adequate Security

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As violence creeps higher across the United States, it's becoming more commonplace for victims of violent crimes to file lawsuits against the businesses, venues, and those responsible for the locations where these violent acts occur.

These lawsuits are not without merit. Since 2000, defendants in these suits have settled with victims – costing defendants beyond an estimated $16 Billion. Outside of settlements reached between victims and defendants for what’s become known as lack of adequate security suits, juries often award victims tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in these cases where a settlement is not reached.

Who's Responsible

Civil lawsuits for violent crimes are not just limited to the victims themselves. Often, the loved ones of those murdered or injured by others file wrongful death and emotional distress suits against defendants in these cases. And, juries aren’t afraid to hand down multi-million dollar verdicts in these cases either; awarding millions of dollars to families who have lost loved ones as well as for emotional distress suffered due to witnessing violence firsthand (often referred to as bystander injury).

These lawsuits are not limited to businesses either – event organizers, operators, vendors, and similar also face potential lawsuits when violence occurs in their presence or at their venue. This issue has prompted some municipal and county governments to pass ordinances and legislation requiring businesses and venues to take steps that will help to ensure that they do not become enablers of violent crime – such as ensuring that there is adequate lighting or installing compliant cameras.

No Responsibility?

Of interesting note, in nearly all cases – government operations, including their offices, buildings, and personnel (namely government security and police officers); cannot be sued for these and related failures. This is irrespective of whether they are responding to violent acts, if the acts occur at their facility, or they are providing personnel or police officers in a security-based capacity (including to businesses and venues). This is due to qualified immunity, and case law which generally bars government officials from all responsibility involving tragic outcomes.

Creating Safer Environments

For businesses, organizations, and decision-makers looking to avoid the nightmare these types of incidents cause for so many – it is crucial to invest in properly trained and equipped security personnel and measures which can mitigate acts of violence, or lessen the likelihood of them occurring at all.

A 2019 study involving both security and police professionals showed 60% of sworn police officers and 80% of non-sworn police and security officers feel undertrained, unprepared, and underequipped to handle violent situations in highly populated environments.

“This is a huge problem seen throughout the entire country,” said Edward Blake regarding the study. “This whole approach of ‘it’s good enough’ doesn’t cut it… you can’t just pretend you have an adequate safety and security posture because, at the end of the day, this is costing people their lives.”

While these lawsuits are costly to defendants, they are far more costly to victims who have suffered an injury or had a loved one murdered as a result of violent crimes – emotional distress, medical bills, loss of wages, loss of future earnings all add up and make for multi-million dollar figures. For example: in 2020, a court approved an $800 million settlement from defendant MGM Resorts International and its insurers, awarded to more than 4,400 relatives and victims of the Las Vegas Strip shooting. The approval is the final step in settling numerous suits of the mass shooting that took the lives of 58 people at an open-air concert near Mandalay Bay.

Tri State Enforcement Regional Authority is a multistate organization that supplies mission-critical public safety services, special police services, advanced protective security and armed guard services, court and judicial services, and related law enforcement and emergency services; for and on behalf of public, private, and government sector markets through cooperative and service contract agreements.

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