Articles Posted in Premises Liability/Negligent Security

Nightclub Bar SceneThe DC Metropolitan Police Department has released their Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments report, outlining how nightclub owners can develop a safe nightlife atmosphere for patrons. While the full report addresses a variety of crucial nightclub security guidelines, including age verification, intoxication, employee training, and security procedures, this article specifically focuses on the DCPD best practices for preventing nightclub sexual assault.

It is your responsibility as establishment owners and managers to ensure that your customers enjoy the evening as safely as possible. These precautions help create a positive relationship between you and your neighbors, and they help ensure that your establishment is free from any illegal activity. –DC Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier

Developing a Safe Nightlife Atmosphere: Preventing Sexual Assault

  1. Management and employees can help to prevent their premises from being exploited by sexual aggressors, who may seek to take advantage of vulnerable patrons. Alcohol is the most common substance aggressors use to facilitate sexual assault. Both the aggressor and the target may have impaired judgment and lower awareness as a result of alcohol consumption, leading to a greater chance of sexual violation anywhere along the spectrum from harassment to violent assault. However, the environment around a sexual aggressor can make a difference in their behavior.
  2. Young women are statistically most likely to be the target of unwanted sexual attention and aggression, but it’s important to keep in mind that anyone may be a target, including patrons of gay establishments. Aggressors often present themselves as friendly, seeking to get to know a target, buying them drinks, or otherwise displaying a romantic interest. Aggressors may also engage in unwanted contact such as pressing up against someone on the dance floor, groping, or “up- skirt” grabbing. If bar staff notice any of these behaviors, it may be useful for them to ask the target if s/he would like any intervention and/or keep a close eye on the situation in case it escalates.Escalation can also take place off-premises. A common scenario is for an aggressor to initiate an inter- action on the premises, isolate the target from her friends, and then persuade or pressure the target to leave with him. Employees should be attuned to behavior that seems overly familiar or aggressive under the circumstances, especially if the potential target is visibly intoxicated or seems to be impaired.
  3. Establishment personnel should offer to call a cab for the vulnerable or impaired person, and closely observe as patrons leave to see if they seem to be able to navigate safely. Security personnel at the door or outside are well positioned and should observe when patrons leave. They should also take general note of whom patrons arrive with and whether they leave with the same group or someone else. Note that aggressors may seek to get targets drunk or drugged, encourage them to get some air, and then pull up in a car or hail a cab to take them away.
  4. If establishment personnel sense that something is awry, either when an aggressor is purchasing drinks for a potential target who is visibly intoxicated, isolating her from her friends, or trying to leave with her, personnel should make it clear to the aggressor that they have been observed by asking them in front of others how they’re doing or if they need some help. Staff can also use distraction techniques to separate the target from the aggressor, such as telling the potential target that her friends are looking for her. If possible, employees should make a note of the circumstances, the descriptions of the parties, or any other information that could become relevant at a later time. However, establishment managers and staff should make every effort to keep patrons safe and proactively intervene if they observe any suspicious or problematic behaviors.
  5. Encourage groups to designate one person as a chaperone and perhaps identify this person with a wristband. This person could be served non-alcoholic beverages at a discount for the night.
  6. For prevention of assaults on the premises, maintain surveillance cameras outside restroom doors, and consider employing a restroom attendant. Ensure that restrooms are used by the appropriate gender. If the restrooms are gender-segregated, monitor to ensure that men do not enter the women’s restroom (keeping in mind that some people who appear to be one gender may in fact be another). Surveillance cameras should be monitored throughout the night, especially near closing time. Ensure that storage areas and other restricted areas are kept locked and secured. Closed darkened areas create a potential danger.
  7. Support staff, including porters, barbacks, busboys, and kitchen staff, should receive sexual assault awareness training that will help them be aware of patron behavior and recognize potential perpetrator behaviors that may lead to sexual assault, especially as these employees work in or pass through areas that are dark or restricted. As part of their training, employees should be instructed to immediately report any suspicious or problematic behavior to a supervisor or manager.
  8. Establishments can send a clear message that there is zero tolerance for sexual assault by posting signs letting patrons know that their safety is a priority, and including on the signs who among the staff a patron can approach if they need assistance.
  9. Perhaps most important, management and employees should trust their instincts regarding possible predatory behavior they may observe. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Management should communicate to employees, ideally by establishing a written policy, that they support proactive efforts to address suspicious, aggressive, or predatory behavior. If possible, employees should make notes of any situation they observed for later reference if needed.

    Visit DC Metropolitan Police Department for Complete Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments Report.

Victims of Nightclub Sexual Assault

By law, nightclub owners and managers are required to protect all patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. Should a nightclub owner or manager fail in this legal duty, victims of nightclub sexual assault may elect to pursue a legal claim for their injuries and suffering. Under such a claim, victims of sexual assault may be entitled to an award of damages that could include, among other items, substantial monetary compensation for: pain and suffering; past and future medical expenses; loss of wages and future earning capacity; disfigurement; and, mental anguish.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene will need to be performed on behalf of the victim immediately before any evidence, such as register receipts or surveillance footage, may be destroyed. As such, it is imperative that nightclub sexual assault victims speak with an experienced premises liability firm immediately to ensure their interests are protected.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of nightclub sexual assault and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Young People Waiting Outside Nightclub

Following a spree of violent nightclub crime, which resulted in the death of two young women, the NYPD has formulated a set of best practices “in order to guide the nightlife industry in making itself more accountable and preventing the kind of crime and disorder problems that bring it into conflict with law enforcement agencies.”

The Murray Law Firm represents many victims and families who have been devastated by nightclub violence. It is our hope that nightclub owners and managers across the country will collaborate with their local police departments to implement the security measures and training necessary to deter crime and protect their patrons. We have highlighted some of the NYPD’s best nightclub security practices below.

Nightclub Owners: NYPD Nightclub Security Best Practices

  • There should be a minimum of one licensed and trained security guard in every premise when 75 or more patrons are present at the same time. For larger premises, there should be one such security guard for every 75 club patrons present. Discretion should be used by management to determine the appropriate number of security based on the event or crowd to ensure safety and lawfulness.
  • Security guards should be trained in techniques to de-escalate potential violent encounters and difficult situations.
  • Establishment policy should mandate that security personnel separate and remove all potentially violent patrons in a manner consistent with the law in order to prevent a continuation of violent activity inside or outside the club. Establishments must call 9-1-1 to report criminal activity and may call 9-1-1 or otherwise notify police for assistance in these circumstances.
  • It is recommended that security guards be distinctively and uniformly attired–that is very easily identified.
  • It is recommended that security guards be distributed evenly throughout the establishment and not just at the door.
  • It is recommended that properly working and maintained digital cameras be mounted in front of the establishment (both inside and outside), at all entry doors, and outside the bathroom doors.
  • It is helpful to learn if all of these efforts are working. To that end, establishments should hire an independent security consultant to ensure club security and to see that the establishment is adhering to other laws and policies, including laws prohibiting sales to minors.
  • Establishments should ensure that levels of lighting inside and outside the establishment are sufficient for observation by security.
  • All those awaiting admission should be placed in a line that does not block the sidewalk. All individuals in admission lines should be informed that if they are not orderly, they will not be admitted. Individuals who will not be admitted should be encouraged to leave the area.
  • At closing, security should ensure orderliness when patrons are exiting the establishment.
  • If metal detectors are used, every patron should be subjected to magnetometer searches in accordance with establishment policy. VIPs, DJs, entourages, and so on should not receive special treatment.
  • Spot checks of employees should be conducted to ensure compliance with establishment policies and applicable laws and rules, including integrity tests for false IDs and underage sales.
  • The use of ID scanning machines is strongly recommended. Although they do not reject legal IDs used by other individuals, nor are they foolproof in rejecting fake IDs, they are extremely helpful in recording who is entering the establishment.
  • Establishments should not admit anyone under 21, except for establishments operating primarily as restaurants during those hours in which meals are served.
  • If bottle purchases are allowed, establishments should not admit anyone under 21. Establishments must take sufficient steps to ensure that tables are closely monitored to prevent underage drinking or overconsumption.

Read All 60 NYPD Best Nightclub Security Practices: Formulating Best Practices for Nightlife Establishments

Police & Nightclub Owner Collaboration

Many local law enforcement agencies provide workshops and training seminars for nightclub owners, managers and staff. Nightclub owners should connect with their local police department to enroll in, or help create, a nightclub security and safety training program.

Victims of Nightclub Violence

By law, nightclub owners and managers are required to protect all patrons legally on the premises from any foreseeable harm. Should a nightclub owner or manager fail in this legal duty, victims and their families may elect to pursue a legal for any injuries or wrongful deaths, which occurred as a consequence. Under such claims, the victims may be entitled to an award of damages that could include, among other items, substantial monetary compensation for: pain and suffering; past and future medical expenses; loss of wages and future earning capacity; disfigurement; and, emotional distress.

Photographs and a thorough inspection of the scene will need to be performed on behalf of the victim immediately before any evidence, such as register receipts or surveillance footage, may be destroyed. As such, it is imperative victims speak with an experienced premises liability firm immediately to ensure their interests are protected.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of nightclub violence and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Security cameraA Jefferson City Police Apartment Security & Safety report warns, “There are some criminals who prey specifically upon apartments and condominiums….You should be aware of, and periodically review, the security and safety of your apartment and apartment building. In rental buildings, the building owner and management are responsible for security.

Apartment complex owners and management companies may implement a variety of security precautions to meet this crucial responsibility. According to JCPD, this duty typically involves:

  1. ensuring that security systems meet or exceed security requirements for apartment buildings, such as deadbolt locks on doors, good lighting and window locks;
  2. ensuring that security systems provide reasonable protection for all residents — in their apartments and in common areas, such as parking garages and elevators;
  3. conducting regular inspections to spot and fix security problems, such as broken locks or burned­out exterior lights, and asking residents to submit security concerns or suggestions as part of continuing maintenance;
  4. dealing with complaints about dangerous situations, suspicious activities or broken security items.

The Jefferson City Police Department recommends particular attention to the following security measures:

  • Apartment Corridor & Balcony Doors

Doors are a burglar’s first choice of entry. Your apartment door should have a good deadbolt lock. One feature to look for is lock throw — the length the locking bolt protrudes from the door into the surrounding door frame when placed in the full lock position. Test this by locking the door while it is open — a good deadbolt lock protrudes 35 mm (1 1∕2 in.) or more when fully extended. A strong deadbolt lock also has a jimmy­ proof strike plate (the part of the lock assembly mounted in the door frame to receive the bolt). The strike plate should be secured to the door framing by screws at least 50–75 mm (2–3 in.) long. This ensures the strike plate is fastened to the structure of the wall and not just the door frame….Install a door viewer (peephole) in your entrance door, if you do not already have one.

Equip balcony doors with the same type of deadbolt locks recommended for corridor doors. There is special hardware to secure sliding balcony doors but a simple, effective, inexpensive solution is a sturdy piece of wood in the door’s track to prevent the sliding door from opening.

  • Windows

Make sure all windows close fully, that the locking hardware is in good condition and that it is easy to lock the window when you shut it. Ensure that a thief cannot lift a horizontal window out of its track.

  • Electronic Building Entry Systems

The front door entry system of most apartment buildings allows a resident to remotely let guests into the building. These systems are only effective if the front door locking system functions and intruders cannot take advantage of an open door to enter the building (known as piggy­backing).

  • Elevators & Lobbies

Elevators and lobbies should be well lit, day and night. Interior lighting in lobbies and corridors should not be on an accessible switch but should instead be controlled by a timer or photocell….Possible hiding places under stairwells should be eliminated. Elevators should be equipped with both a telephone and alarm or duress buttons connected to the resident manager’s unit and an outside central monitoring station. Lobbies should have glass doors, glass in exterior doors and/or side lights.

  • Laundry Rooms & Workout Rooms

Laundry rooms in apartment or condominium complexes can represent special security problems. Ideally, the entrance into laundry rooms should be from the exterior of the building and clearly visible. Laundry room door locks should require a tenant or owner key. The laundry room door should have a window in it. A duress alarm and/or telephone should be available in the laundry room. Interior lighting should be wired to remain on permanently during hours of operation. Residents should be encouraged not to use the laundry facilities alone or during late night hours. The same crime prevention or security recommendations applicable to laundry rooms are also applicable to common exercise or workout rooms.

View the complete JCPD Apartment Security & Safety report here.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of apartment violence and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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