The spotlight shined dubiously on Edinburg, Texas, earlier in December after a high school football player attacked the referee who ejected him from the game. Many people around the country and throughout the world learned about the incident in which the 18-year-old player rushed onto the field and blindsided the referee, who sustained concussion-like symptoms and a shoulder injury.
This situation is an extreme case of premises liability. Such violent attacks can occur in many situations and in different scenarios. At a hotel, at a condominium, at a restaurant, at an office building, in a parking ramp, in a parking lot and at a sporting event to name a few. Property owners and facility managers must be taken to task as they are the ones responsible for the safety and security of the people who frequent these locations.
Security presence remains essential
When catering to and hosting the public, property owners remain responsible for implementing effective security measures and taking the proper precautions to assure safety. Subscribing to such a philosophy potentially can prevent violent attacks.
However, the following ingredients can offset any safety measures already in place on properties:
- Lack of presence of security staff or the hiring of unqualified security: This may have played a role in the recent high school football game attack. A limited number of security opens the door for criminal opportunity.
- Lack of effective lighting: Hallways, parking lots and parking ramps must have proper lighting, serving as a deterrent for potential criminal activity. An attacker may be waiting for you in a dimly lit area.
- Lack of security cameras: Security staff needs them in place to monitor activities, and those cameras must function.
- Neglecting to monitor a building’s entrances, exits and common areas: This issue correlates with the right number of security staff in place and security cameras. If this is not done, unauthorized individuals may come and go without supervision.
- Non-functioning locks on doors and windows: Sadly, there have been incidents of violent attacks, burglary and rape incidents attributed to this fact in hotels. Secure locks are critical.
A violent attack can lead to catastrophic and lifelong injuries. Many of these crimes are preventable as long as the right safety measures are in place. In situations such as the recent attack on the high school referee, you must remember that you cannot control the actions of another. However, in that situation, better security measures may have prevented it from occurring.