The Role Crime Statistics Play In a Negligent Security Case
by Jason Brenner, Associate at The Haggard Law Firm
Although each negligent security case may bring about different facts or require ingenuity with your strategy, there are certain elements of your case that remain constant. One of those elements is crime statistics. The importance of crime statistics in your case cannot be stated enough. Not only do these statistics help establish notice and foreseeability to the defendants, they are also a treasure trove of information.
With respect to notice and foreseeability, your crime statistics establish what the defendants “knew or should have known” prior to and at the time of subject incident. So what should you request? You begin by requesting the calls for service and all police reports for the subject property. This needs to be done in one request. From there, depending on your jurisdiction, you will order up to a mile radius for the calls for service. Once you receive each respective request, you must synthesize the data. For example, you will detail the violent and non-violent crimes and their frequency on the property. This provides a picture of what type of crime was going on at the property. It provides you with the ability to illustrate to the jury the level of crime occurring and can be used effectively to show that it is an improbability for a defendant to be unaware of the police being called to the property.
The police reports themselves are filled with valuable information from crime victims to narratives that paint the picture of a level of violence occurring on the property. For instance, during a trial the firm handled in Pensacola, we were able to effectively utilize the narratives of the police reports on two levels. First, we identified one of the victims of this armed robbery who testified at trial. Second, the narrative portrayed a level of comfort and brazenness on the part of the criminals which needed to be addressed by the defendant. In that case the defendant had manned security at certain times, but
never evaluated its effectiveness and whether the property required additional coverage. This police report was crucial in being able to show the jury the defendants needed to address at what time the crime was occurring, and what level of violence since the criminals during that particular incident walked onto the property with AK-47s and actually hit one of the victims in the face with the butt of the gun.
The example discussed above is one example of how important ordering and synthesizing the information can be in your negligent security case. Avoid falling into complacency with this element and losing out on the valuable information contained therein. Crime statistics are not just an element for you prove in your case, but they can translate into impactful testimony and effective illustrations for the jury.
(Picture: Article author Jason Brenner interviewed by news media)
VIDEO: The Haggard Law Firm’s Michael Haggard discusses the first step of the investigation into a negligent security claim, nailing down the security history of the property. Haggard Law has litigated more than 200 negligent security/premises liability cases resulting in nearly $350 million in results in the last decade.