New York City is currently enjoying a period of prosperity and low crime rates. However, no matter how safe a building appears to be, it is important that the board doesn’t relax building security. If a building isn’t adequately secured, it risks the safety of its residents, making itself vulnerable to lawsuits. To prevent the worst from happening, buildings and their boards should have a strong security system, as well as ample insurance coverage, to protect them if faced with a lawsuit.
Avoid Common Mistakes
The best way to reduce liability is to reduce the chances that criminal activity will take place in the building. In the event of a lawsuit, which could potentially penalize a building for millions of dollars, courts tend to look much more favorably on buildings that can prove that they have made a concerted effort to protect their residents. And if the building has been the scene of multiple crimes in the past or appears to be negligent about security issues, it is very likely that the building and/or its board will be found liable.
There are many precautions that should be taken into consideration to avoid security risks. First, all entrances should be well lit. Criminals are much less likely to commit crimes in a place where they feel visible. Shrubbery, particularly around entrances, should be kept closely trimmed, so as not to provide hiding places. If a doorman is not present, there should be a lock on the first door people use to get into the building, so that an attacker cannot trap someone in the vestibule area. And all alarms, locks, intercoms and security cameras should be kept in top condition.
However, all efforts to provide good security are useless if residents do not understand the importance of controlling access to the building. Unfortunately, many residents feel that they are safe and do not take security issues as seriously as they should. Many residents with intercom access walk over to their buzzers and let people in without first determining who it is. It is important residents understand that if they let strangers into their building, they are putting themselves and their neighbors at risk.