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Loiterers in Crime Victim Cases

Generally speaking, businesses in Missouri are not required to protect their customers from crime. If you are injured in a hold-up or robbery or any other crime at a business, the business is generally not liable for your losses.

However, Missouri law says that in some circumstances, a business can be responsible for your injuries if you are victim of a crime at their facility. One of these circumstances is called the “special circumstances” exception. It says that if the business knows it has a crime problem, then it must protect its customers from crime.

One of the most prominent factors to determine whether a business has a crime problem is whether people loiter at the store. Many of us have experienced this. A shady gas station may have people hanging around out front begging for money, or worse, soliciting drug deals. Missouri case law is clear that if a business allows this to happen, it is responsible for any injury to a customer whom the loiter commits a crime.

The reason for this exception is the great danger that stems from allowing people to loiter outside a business. The security experts we’ve experienced in our cases have universally agreed that allowing loiterers creates an unnecessary risk of harm from crime. If someone gets hurt because of a crime from loiterers, the business is responsible for the harm.

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