Violence Prevention and Proactive Action

Related Information: Crime, People, Property/Liab., Security

Tough economic times can unfortunately bring more criminal activity to restaurants. Crime can be categorized as a robbery, domestic violence against an employee, or an assault or robbery that occurs on your property— even when none of your employees are involved.

Sometimes, simply because the crime occurs on your property, you may be held liable. But you can be prepared, have a policy in place and prevent crime from occurring by taking common sense precautions.

Here are some considerations to help you understand, reduce or eliminate your liability if a crime occurs on property, the following may be asked and you need to ensure your restaurant took basic actions:

·      Did the owner exercise reasonable care to protect his/her customers from harm?

·      Did the owner exercise reasonable care to protect his/her customers?

What is reasonable care?  Reasonable care can be different depending on the situation. In general, it’s taking safety precautions- reasonable care – to protect employees and your property. Here are some ways to keep crime from becoming a costly problem:

·      Ensure proper lighting in the parking lot – avoid hidden or dark areas.

·      Ensure trees are trimmed so that lights are not blocked.

·      Make sure employees are trained on what to do for any suspicious activity.

·      Contact the  police

·      Ensure a proper number of cameras are installed and working.

·      Be able to prove that you did not avoid an issue or problem. Employees walking past vagrants in the store, or people fighting without calling police or responding accordingly would not qualify as using reasonable care.

Remember, employees are not trained to step in to break up fights. If your employee injures a combatant, they could be held liable (not to mention getting injured).  Police should be used to handle violence or potential violence.

To download a sample of the Employee Robbery Policy please click on the following link