The dangers of urban exploration and how to safeguard your business premises

gateway blog 83 - urban explorationOne of the benefits of the world wide web is that it can bring together online communities built around shared interests. However, for owners of vacant properties and facility managers, one online interest and the community that has grown around it has become a source of constant headaches. That is urban exploration.

What is urban exploration?

Urban exploration is the act of visiting old abandoned buildings and documenting what you find through photographs which are then typically shared online with fellow hobbyists. Whilst these groups and communities usually practice a motto of leaving buildings as you find them, there are many dangers both for themselves and for the owners of these buildings.

Whilst urban explorers often have the best intentions, posting their photographs online often attracts far more people into these buildings which are often unsafe and can also act as scouting material for criminal gangs, thieves and travelers looking to exploit the sites.

In recent years there have been cases of urban explorers being badly injured, or even losing their lives while making their way into or around these often old and unsafe buildings.

What does the law say?

While trespass is a civil offense and explorers risk arrest and punishment, there are legal repercussions for property owners too. Under the Defective Premises Act and the Occupiers Liability Act, property owners have a duty of care towards anyone who visits their site and this means if someone is injured due to a failure to repair or maintain their property they could be liable. This means it is absolutely critical that property owners take steps to prevent urban explorers from gaining access to their property.

What can be done?

There are plenty of different methods for securing a vacant property from trespass. Strong perimeter security tools such as gates and barriers are an important place to start. However, every property is different and may require different approaches to put a stop to unauthorised access.

Gateway Automation provide a range of products to help businesses and individuals to secure their sites and also provide nationwide servicing and repairs to gates, barriers and other perimeter security equipment. To find out more and to arrange a risk assessment, please call us on 01522 682255.

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