Property owners and managers have a duty to protect the people in buildings from foreseeable harm. Property owners have a specific duty to protect those legally on the property from harm caused by crime.
What Duty Does a Property Owner or Manager Have?
Anyone lawfully on a property should be safe from being a victim of a crime. This duty only extends to places that the property owner can control. For example, a building owner has a duty to make sure that there are adequate locks on the entrances.
A property owner’s duty can vary because the expected use and foreseeable harm can vary. For example, a municipal parking garage may require CCTV cameras and armed security guards present to protect customers. On the other hand, an outdoor parking lot to a farmer’s market may not.
This duty may not extend to places that are otherwise private.
For example, a parking lot owner may not have a duty to protect a driver from his own passengers if they’re both in the car.
When Is Harm Foreseeable?
The possibility of harm is foreseeable if the same harm has happened before, or it was reasonable to think the harm was likely to happen. Harm may be foreseeable if it has happened before on that property or has happened on similar or nearby properties. For example, an arena may have a duty to have extra security at certain concerts because assaults are more likely at concerts of certain musical groups.
Would Any Preventative Action Have Stopped the Harm?
A property owner is liable for negligent security only if there were available security measures to protect against the harm. Locks may be able to stop a trespassing rapist from coming through the front door. However, they can’t prevent two neighbors from fighting in the hallway.
Was There Harm?
There is no negligence if a property owner breaches a duty but there is no harm.
For example, the mere possibility of being mugged in an alley isn’t harm. Being mugged in an alley is harm. However, there may be recovery available if the fear of harm is so bad that it causes long-term harm.
Who Can Sue for Negligent Security?
In Colorado, anyone who is lawfully on a property and harmed because of negligent security can sue for damages. If you were the victim of a preventable crime on someone’s property, contact us at our offices in Colorado at 303-393-6666. Our lawyers Kidneigh & Kaufman can help you recover losses from a preventable harm on someone else’s property.
 Colwell v. Mentzer Invs., Inc., 973 P.2d 631, 638 (Colo. App. 1998)
 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-21-115