Premises Liability Cases Due to Third-Party Criminal Acts

Property owners have the responsibility to ensure that their premises are safe and free from hazards that could cause harm to lawful visitors.

We often think of this in terms of the safety of the building itself — removing snow and ice, ensuring that walkways are well lighted, and securing railings on stairways. However, property owners also have a responsibility to take action if they become aware of potential criminal activities or threats on their property.

Property owners must implement reasonable security measures like surveillance and access control, and they have a responsibility to alert the police if they suspect criminal activity on the premises.

If you or someone you know was injured or killed as a result of a property owner’s inaction to prevent a foreseeable criminal act, then you may be entitled to compensation. Becoming the victim of a crime isn’t just an emotionally and physically traumatic experience. It can lead to significant financial losses due to medical bills and missed time from work.

The premises liability attorneys at Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse are here to help. Contact us today at 314-241-1919 for a free case review.

What responsibilities does a property owner have to stop criminal acts?

Under Missouri law, property owners bear a significant responsibility to safeguard visitors against third-party criminal acts. This duty includes taking proactive measures against potential criminal threats.

Property owners have to consider the likelihood that criminal activities could take place in and around their premises. Just like if there is a walkway that collects ice during the winter, if there is a history of criminal acts on the property, owners are expected to take this hazard into account and adjust their security measures accordingly.

This includes, but is not limited to, installing sufficient lighting in parking lots and walkways, maintaining functional locks on doors and windows, employing security personnel, and installing surveillance cameras. These measures should be commensurate with the level of risk assessed.

Then, property owners must continually assess the effectiveness of their security measures. If new threats emerge or if existing measures prove inadequate, they are expected to respond promptly with appropriate upgrades or changes.

When there is a known risk of criminal activity that cannot be immediately mitigated, property owners have a duty to warn visitors. This can involve signage or direct communication about potential dangers.

What happens if a property owner fails to implement security measures and someone is injured by a criminal act?

If a property owner fails to take reasonable steps to prevent foreseeable criminal acts, and a visitor suffers harm as a result, the owner may be held liable for negligence. This liability hinges on whether the criminal act was foreseeable and if the owner’s failure to provide adequate security contributed to the harm.

Missouri courts have set precedents in cases where property owners were found negligent due to inadequate security measures. These cases often hinge on the balance between foreseeability of the criminal act and the reasonableness of the owner’s security response.

NGK Law Firm seeks justice for family of woman slain at apartment complex

The law firm of Niemeyer, Grebel, and Kruse has undertaken a significant case in St. Louis, representing the family of Carolyn Jenkins, a 63-year-old grandmother who was tragically found deceased at the Metropolitan Village Apartments. This case highlights serious concerns regarding tenant safety and premises liability.

Carolyn Jenkins was last seen in August 2022, and her body was discovered a week later. Surveillance footage indicated that two men, identified as Jenkins’ ex-boyfriend and neighbor, were involved in her death. The footage also captured a security guard’s failure to intervene as Jenkins’ body was moved past her post.

The family’s lawsuit, filed against the apartment complex, its management and the security firm, alleges negligence in preventing Jenkins’ murder. It argues that repeated complaints by Jenkins about the ex-boyfriend’s harassment were ignored by the apartment management. Moreover, his criminal history, including charges in a 2015 murder case, should have precluded his residence in the HUD-subsidized complex, as per federal housing rules.

This case raises crucial questions about the responsibility of property owners and managers in ensuring the safety of their residents, especially in light of known threats. NGK Law Firm aims to address these safety failings through the legal process, seeking justice for Jenkins’ family and emphasizing the need for improved security measures in residential settings.

As the legal proceedings continue in 2024, NGK Law remains focused on representing the Jenkins family’s interests and highlighting the importance of diligent security practices in property management.

Call Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse today to discuss your case

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime due to a property owner’s negligence, it’s crucial to understand that you have legal rights and options. Incidents where insufficient security measures or the failure to address known hazards contribute to a criminal act can form the basis for a premises liability claim.

At Niemeyer, Grebel and Kruse, we specialize in these complex cases. Our experienced attorneys are dedicated to holding negligent property owners accountable and seeking justice for victims. Whether it’s inadequate lighting, lack of security personnel, ignored complaints, or any other form of negligence that led to a crime, our team is prepared to investigate and advocate on your behalf.

Don’t let the negligence of a property owner go unchallenged. You may be entitled to compensation for your physical, emotional and financial suffering. Reach out to NGK Law at 314-241-1919 for a free case review. Let us help you navigate the legal process and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.

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