A business owner can be held legally responsible in a civil lawsuit if a shooting occurs at the business which was foreseeable and the property owner, business, or company in control of the premises did not have adequate security measures in light of the foreseeable risk.  For example, if a customer is injured or died from a shooting at a restaurant in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, then the owner or managing company of the restaurant and premises could be held legally responsible in a civil lawsuit for negligent security and/or wrongful death (if a death occurred) if the shooting was foreseeable and the restaurant did not have adequate security measures in light of the foreseeable risk.  

In South Carolina, a Court may find that a shooting was foreseeable if there were prior similar crimes at the same restaurant or premises.  Even if there were no prior similar crimes at the restaurant or premises, a Court in South Carolina may find the shooting foreseeable if there were prior similar crimes nearby.  For example, if there had been prior shootings at three other businesses on the same street, then a Court would be more likely to find that the shooting at the restaurant on the same street was foreseeable.    

South Carolina Courts use a balancing test to balance the degree of forseeability of harm against the burden of the duty imposed upon the business owner in providing security measures.  The more foreseeable a crime, the more onerous is a business owner's burden of providing security measures. See Lord v. D&J Enters., Inc., 407 S.C. 544 (S.C. 2014). In evaluating whether a business provided adequate security measures for its customers, the economic feasibility of various types of security should be considered.  For example, a large shopping mall making millions of dollars per year from its customers which is located in a high crime area would need to spend a much larger amount of money on security measures to protect its customers than a small business in a low crime area.  Business owners should evaluate the prior crimes in the area nearby and implement reasonable and adequate security measures to protect customers and/or invitees on their premises.  

Large shopping malls should strongly consider providing multiple security guards to patrol all hours when customers and people are permitted to be present.  Below lists some of the additional security measures that can be implemented to make a business or premises safer for customers and patrons: 

(1) Metal detectors or metal detection wands;

(2) Reasonable number of security guards to patrol (in proportion to number of customers); 

(3) Security training to employees on how to respond if a shooting occurs; 

(4) Adequate lighting; 

(5) Security or surveillance cameras; 

(6) Motion detectors;

(7) Noise makers;

(8) No Weapons Signs posted;

(9) Warning signs posted; and

(10) Alarm Systems.