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Are Rockford Business Owners Responsible for Preventing Crime?

When most of us think about dangerous places to live, we think of big cities like New York and Los Angeles. However, Rockford, Illinois has a higher crime rate than either of those big cities. NeighborhoodScout, a real estate information service, named Rockford the 14th most dangerous city in the country. According to NeighborhoodScout, these statistics are based on FBI data.

Rockford Crime Data

  • Crime rate: 65 crimes per 1,000 residents (national average is 26)
  • Violent crime rate: 14 violent crimes per 1,000 residents (national average is 4)
  • Violent crimes in Rockford include forcible rape, murder, armed robbery, aggravated assault, and assault with a deadly weapon
  • Chances of becoming a violent crime victim in Rockford: 1 in 71
  • Property crime rate: 51 property crimes per 1,000 residents (national average is 28)
  • Chances of becoming a property crime victim in Rockford: 1 in 20
  • Rockford has the highest rate of auto theft in the U.S.
  • Geographic crime rate: 160 crimes per square mile (national average is 39)
     

Only 4 percent of cities in the U.S. have higher crime rates than Rockford.

Why is Rockford so dangerous? Some blame the low incomes caused by the recession. Others say that Rockford’s location between Chicago and Milwaukee makes the city attractive to gangs and drug runners. Whatever the cause, there are parts of Rockford that are not safe.

When you are using an ATM on Kishwaukee Street, parking near the MetroCentre, or shopping downtown, you deserve to be able to go about your business without the risk of harm. Property and business owners in Illinois have a duty to keep customers and others who are lawfully visiting their premises safe from crime. This means that business owners should either warn customers of the possibility of becoming a crime victim or take steps to protect their customers. These steps may be as simple as replacing burnt-out lights in the parking lot or hiring a security guard.

A business that does not take steps to protect its customers may be held liable for negligent security if a customer is assaulted, attacked, robbed, raped, or murdered.

Examples of Negligent Security

  • Inadequate lighting
  • Broken door locks, security gates, or fences
  • Lack of an alarm system
  • Unsecured entry way
  • Lack of security guards
  • Improperly patrolled parking lots
  • Insufficient surveillance
  • Lack of surveillance cameras
  • Not conducting background checks on employees
  • No warning about criminal activity in the area
     

Being a crime victim can have a lasting impact on a person’s physical and emotional well-being. Victims of crimes caused by negligent security have the right to seek compensation for both physical injuries and emotional distress. Damages may include compensation for medical treatment, counseling, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.

For more information about premises liability in Illinois, contact Hupy and Abraham. We offer free, confidential, no-obligation consultations. Call 800-390-6350 to schedule an appointment.

 

Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham