Who Can Be Held Liable For Gated Community Break-Ins?

Home invasions and other property crimes are increasing at alarming rates across the United States. People take numerous measures to thwart those crimes and keep their families safe. From advanced entry door locks and shatterproof window films to having home security systems installed, homeowners have several options to choose from when it comes to reducing the likelihood of burglary, vandalism, and violent crimes. Still, criminals are becoming more educated and skillful at bypassing all those efforts. This is leaving many people far more vulnerable to crimes than they may realize.

Taking Matters a Step Further

Additionally, quite a few people are moving to gated communities to protect themselves from the usual robberies and property crimes. Those who already live in such neighborhoods may believe they’re completely protected from property crimes and violent attacks. Unfortunately, many are lulled into a false sense of security in such situations. Though gated communities take certain steps to keep their residents safe, nothing is foolproof. If you’ve been a victim of a property crime or violent attack in a gated community, you may be able to get help from Uvalle Law Firm to resolve your case. For now, though, it’s important to understand who can be held liable for crimes committed in gated communities and to what extent.

Security Issues Gated Communities Can Be Held Liable for

Gated communities, by definition, are expected to provide higher levels of security than standard neighborhoods, non-gated apartment complexes, and other areas. Sadly, they don’t always live up to their promises and responsibilities. As such, even people who live in gated communities and their visitors are among the victims of the millions of property crimes reported in America each year. They even fall victim to violent attacks from outsiders and, in some cases, their own neighbors. In many instances, the community itself can be held liable for those crimes and their resulting damages, losses, and injuries.

Insufficient Security Guard Staff

Gated communities often employ security guards to help protect their residents and keep crime at bay. Some have one or two guards posted at entry gates whereas others have stationary guards at the gates as well as roaming security officers to patrol the property. If those communities promise to provide residents a certain amount of protection via security guards, they’re required to adhere to those guarantees. Otherwise, they can be held liable for crimes that could’ve been prevented had the appropriate guards been available at the times of the incidents. Accountability also comes into play if the guards employed by the community just aren’t doing their jobs.

Substandard Access Control

Various types of access control measures are also used in gated communities. Some have guards stationed at entryways who are only supposed to allow authorized personnel to pass through the gates. Residents may have to show their identification, parking permits, or other types of documentation to be allowed to enter the community. In other cases, residents may need to enter an access code into a keypad or swipe a keycard to get the gate to open and let them inside. Some access control systems even use fingerprint identification to separate residents from unauthorized entrants.

Those measures are designed to prevent the wrong people from coming into the community, but they don’t always work as intended. Security guards may fail to do their jobs correctly, and keypads, RFID scanners, and other access control equipment can malfunction. At the same time, wrongdoers have been known to slip through gates behind other vehicles or even scale fences to commit crimes. If the guard who was on duty at the time of the crime simply didn’t do his or her job or the keypad or RFID scanner was malfunctioning, the community can be held accountable for the aftermath.

Lack of Maintenance

Maintenance issues can also pave the way for gated communities or their property managers to be held responsible for crimes. These communities are required to handle maintenance issues. If they don’t, they’re accountable for any safety and security problems their shortcomings bring about. Access control equipment maintenance is an essential component here, but it’s not the only factor. Gated communities are also responsible for keeping gates and fences in good condition. If criminals enter the premises through broken gates or decaying or damaged fencing, the community can certainly be held liable.

Failure to Inform

Gated communities are supposed to keep their residents apprised of crimes that are taking place in the neighborhood or surrounding areas. Simply informing people about potential problems can empower them to protect themselves or at least be aware of the dangers at hand. In the event a gated community fails to inform its residents of thefts, vandalism, and other crimes taking place in the area, it can be held liable for any harm that comes to them as a result of those crimes.

Inadequate Lighting

Organizations of any type should have adequate lighting in place. For one, it helps prevent injuries and makes matters much safer for residents, customers, employees visitors, and passersby in general. This rule applies to gated communities just as it does businesses. Secondly, lighting helps deter criminals. Wrongdoers are typically less likely to strike if they feel more exposed, and potential victims are better able to see danger coming. If a gated community doesn’t have adequate lighting in place or several of its security lights aren’t working properly, the community can possibly be held accountable for crimes committed on the premises.

All Things Considered

No two crimes are exactly the same. Certain surrounding factors can ultimately place the blame on other homeowners or renters in the community and even the victims of crimes themselves. Having said that, gated communities can be held responsible for crimes committed when the issues listed here are in play. If you’ve been the victim of theft, vandalism, a home invasion, or a violent crime, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. While the circumstances surrounding the incident will have an impact on the outcome of your case, the gated community you live in or were visiting may be to blame for your injuries, damages, or losses.