Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Concept Of “Reasonable Security”

Every organization has a legal obligation to provide a safe environment, based on the concept of “reasonable security.”  The owner/landlord does not have to guarantee absolute security.  However,  reasonableness and adequacy of security must be affirmatively demonstrated.  This basic concept is founded in most states’ case law (and, in some states, in statutory law).  In today’s world, there is virtually no place that can claim that no security is adequate.

The implementation or existence of a security program in and of itself does not guarantee that the program is adequate and sufficient, since the standard by which a security program will be judged is reasonableness with regard to foreseeable threats and risks at a specific place.

“Reasonable security” has been consistently defined by premises security case law to mean that appropriate security measures must be implemented commensurate with risks which are reasonably foreseeable at a specific place.  And a reasonable consideration of foreseeability has been determined to include the nature of the premises; the history of incidents at the premises; the history of incidents in geographic surroundings; and  any relevant industry standards.

Adequacy of security is legally defensible only when  vulnerabilities and risks are assessed via some conscious or formalized process to determine foreseeability, and commensurate security measures then  implemented to reasonably address those identified foreseeable risks (this is the usual standard by which adequacy and sufficiency of security is determined by courts).
A good process for developing a sound security strategy has dual benefits:  The program will be designed to protect the organization’s assets; and the program will be legally defensible should it be challenged in court.


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