nesses have failed to provide adequate protection for the public despite their
legal duty to do so.
After 30 years of claims against property owners for poor security, a public
outcry for nationwide security standards requiring some minimal measures to
prevent crime would seem inevitable. In fact, during that 30-year period, only
a handful of technical standards were developed by standard-setting organiza-
tions. However, these standards typically have been limited to technical items
such as locks, fencing, safe construction, or lighting levels. There were no stan-
dards or guidelines for the management of security services or the use of secu-
rity devices in any given application. This means that the landlord of an urban
apartment building or the general manager of a downtown hotel would not be
able to refer to a written standard regarding what type of locks should be
installed on sliding glass doors. The liability of the motel in the Connie Francis
case was predicated on the poor-quality locks that were provided for the singer.
She was raped in her room by an unknown intruder who gained access via a
defective locking device on a sliding glass door.
As recently as the early 1990s, three major industries opposed the develop-
ment of any type of security standard or guideline. The apartment, hotel, and
shopping-center industries, through their respective trade groups, fought an
effort by ASTM (the American Society for Testing and Materials) to develop
minimum guidelines for security measures in all types of privately owned busi-
nesses open to the public.A three-year effort to develop the guidelines dissolved
with threats to the nonprofit ASTM that it was working outside its charter.
Although it is doubtful that any charter violation took place, the organization
could not afford the cost of litigation and, consequently, disbanded the
In 2001, two national organizations started the process of developing
national security standards. The American Society of Industrial Security, now
known as ASIS International, and the National Fire Protection Association
(NFPA) both established committees that were charged with the task of iden-
tifying the types of security standards needed and writing them. Subsequently,
ASIS International has published several guidelines, including the General
Security Risk Assessment Guideline, Private Security Officer Selection and
Training Guideline, and numerous others. The NFPA published two guidelines,
NFPA 730 and 731, which recommend a variety of minimal security measures
in a number of business settings and guidelines for the installation of security
equipment, respectively.
“Standards” versus “Guidelines
The difference between standards and guidelines is to some degree a matter
of semantics, and yet, there are important distinctions between them. A stan-
dard usually refers to an adopted standard of practice for the construction,
design, use, or application of a product or service. For example, there are
national standards for the manufacturing of certain types of locking devices.
Premises Security Liability 277

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