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How Convenience Stores Can Minimize Their Risk of Liability for Inadequate Security

Burgoyne Law Offices April 22, 2021

Convenience stores face a number of security challenges, in part because they’re open late into the night, if not 24 hours a day, every day of the week. As a store or franchise owner, you’re concerned with the safety of your employees, but you also need to look out for the safety of your customers.

Customers can get caught up in what was intended to be a “simple” robbery and suffer injuries or worse. They can also become the victims of theft, assault and other crimes outside of your store.

Appropriate Security Precautions

If a customer or visitor becomes the victim of a crime on your property, can they hold the store liable? That can depend in part on whether appropriate security systems and measures were in place. These can include:

  • Video cameras throughout the store and outside

  • Monitored alarm systems

  • Security guards posted inside and outside the entrances

  • Proper lighting outside the store and throughout the parking lot

  • Training for employees so they know how to monitor the surveillance cameras and what to do in the event of a robbery or other criminal activity

  • Minimizing the amount of cash on hand and accessible at any given time

  • Bullet-proof glass for employees at cash registers

All of these may not be necessary, but it’s essential to determine which ones are for each of your stores.

Understanding Foreseeability

Another factor that may be considered regarding your liability is the foreseeability of a crime. Typically, business owners are expected to provide a level of security appropriate for their area, their clientele and the type of business.

If you have a convenience store in a part of town with a high crime rate and that store is open 24 hours a day, the possibility that someone who visits the store in the middle of the night could become the victim of a crime is foreseeable.

Of course, you can’t guarantee that none of your employees or visitors will ever become the victim of a crime. However, if you can show that you took reasonable steps to minimize the risk, that can help you avoid having to pay a costly settlement on a lawsuit. If you’re facing such a claim or if you need guidance on this subject, an experienced attorney can help.