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The abduction of Kelsey Smith and the role of security

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  • The abduction of Kelsey Smith and the role of security

    I may be mistaken but I have not seen any threads on the recent abduction of Kelsey Smith who was forcibily taken by a stranger at a Target department store, recently.

    Locally, Target department store has taken a great deal of heat over the fact that this is the second major criminal incident occurring on it's property that has made national news. Moreover, the reports that Target would not permit flyers of Kelsey Smith to be posted on its' doors/windows has certainly created a PR nightmare for Target.

    However, one of the things discussed within the media arena, at least locally, is the lack of proper security at Target stores and the claims that if they had proper security they would likely not be the subject of the lime light they are in.

    Hence, this begs the question of just what legal, ethical or moral responsibility a business or a client has in providing "proper" security to safeguard the public on their property?

  • #2
    Inadequate security is a well-established cause of civil action and many of the cases have arisen out of the hospitality and retail industries.

    "Inadequacy" is a determination of fact that is usually made on the basis of (1) what the management of a property knew or should reasonably have known about the risks to employees, patrons and even uninvited visitors based on the history of the property and its immediate surroundings, etc., and/or (2) any statutory or regulatory mandates that might exist for the property in question (for instance, a bank), and/or (3) established "best practices" for security in the industry applicable to that property. Each side, of course, will engage "security experts" who will argue the question both ways and the fact-finder will have to decide the issue.

    The ethical/moral questions are obviously infinitely debatable.
    Last edited by SecTrainer; 06-10-2007, 12:52 PM.
    "Every betrayal begins with trust." - Brian Jacques

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    "History, with all its volumes vast, hath but one page." - Lord Byron


    • #3
      So, what would proper security at Target of been to prevent a kidnapping?
      Some Kind of Commando Leader

      "Every time I see another crazy Florida post, I'm glad I don't work there." ~ Minneapolis Security on Florida Security Law


      • #4
        Originally posted by N. A. Corbier View Post
        So, what would proper security at Target of been to prevent a kidnapping?
        You make a valid point but what has been argued is (on a highsight applicaiton) that because Kelsey was forcibly taken, had there been proper security in the first place, it is likely that the security officer(s) would have noticed what was going on at least enough to take down the license plate, speak with the people involved and so forth.

        In terms of legal responsibilities, it is important to remember that unless suing on the premise that federal laws have been violated, each state may differ in their premise liability laws. In general, however, I believe that if a client is going to retain the services of security whether in-house or contract, there is a legal and fiduciary duty to ensure public safety is addressed beyond the common "slips and falls." Unfortunately, the warm body and widow dressing syndromes go a long way in taking away the functions of security and the greater good it can serve.