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Christmas countdown could mean large crowds at shopping malls

Christmas is now just days away, and for many people in Ocala, that means that they need to make one last push to finish their gift shopping for the year. Owners of retail stores and shopping malls are likely hoping that crowds will flock to their locations to spend money during the coming days. But, these owners and operators should also take certain steps to prepare for the expected increase in customers.

Just like any other time of the year, safety is important for anyone that is venturing out to a store or mall. This means that property owners and business proprietors must inspect the area and either remove or at least warn customers about any unnecessarily dangerous conditions. In addition to taking these steps, an increase in store traffic might also require more security.

Under Florida premises liability law, store and shopping mall owners have a duty to prevent foreseeable crimes on the property. For example, robbery can be a problem because so many people are carrying money, and they have goods that they may have purchased while at the mall. This is why many large shopping centers have security cameras and employ security guards to patrol the area, including mall parking lots. Furthermore, owners may have to increase security if they know that crime is prevalent in the particular area where the mall is located.

If a shopper becomes a victim of a crime while on store or mall property, the owner may be legally responsible for damages. Inadequate security can put customers' safety at risk. While this is true during any time of the year, security becomes especially important during busy times, like the week before Christmas, when large crowds of people make their way to retail stores.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Premises Liability: A Notable Rift in the Law of Foreseeable Crimes," Wilton H. Strickland, Accessed on Dec. 12, 2014

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