A landowner’s duty to use reasonable care to protect invitees is limited by the element of foreseeability. As a general proposition, a landowner is not the insurer of its invitees safety. As a result, defining “foreseeability” is fundamental and the question becomes what acts must be foreseeable before the duty to prevent criminal attacks is deemed to have been breached. However, it may be determined through investigation that the landowner from past experience knew or had reason to know about the likely conduct on the part of third persons to endanger the safety of its visitors.
As a general proposition, the risk of harm caused must be foreseeable and the determination of a breach of this duty depends on the facts of each individual case. In order to establish that, attorneys representing crime victims in these types of cases need to determine the level of crime. To do this, numerous information needs to be develop including the following:
1. Obtain police report of the crime on the premises and in the surrounding areas.
2. From these sources, follow up on the details revealed through those primary sources.
3. Obtain internal records of the defendant itself. These may include corporate memos, documentation from security, safety or risk management personnel, and insurance company incident reports.