A broken gate, a lack of security cameras, and online complaints about crime could mean that the owners and managers of Point at Westside Apartments could be held liable for violent crime on property.
Atlanta Police are investigating after Reginald Simon, a 24-year-old man, was shot and killed at an Atlanta apartment Friday night near downtown. A woman was detained at the Point at Westside, the apartment building where the shooting occurred, for questioning. The APD has not indicated what her role, if any, might be. APD Captain Jason Smith said "the situation appears to be domestic in nature." The authorities are working to determine the details of the tragic crime.
Landlords and owners of properties have a duty to take reasonable measures to prevent crime on their premises if such crime would be foreseeable. Reasonable measures would be defined by the state of the property and may be as simple as installing visible security cameras, or it may be as intricate as patrolling security guards and a gated community. If landlords fail to meet these obligations to prevent foreseeable crime, they may be liable in the civil justice system.
Online reviews demonstrate crime has been a recurring problem at Point at Westside. One resident writes, “You pay all this money to live here, and the gate doesn’t work, there are no cameras, vehicles are constantly broken into, windows are being smashed out.” Another tenant claims, “The rent office was broken into last year, our rent checks were stolen and they didn’t report it to the police.” Other residents complain of auto break-ins, smashed car windows, underperformed maintenance, criminal activity, and lax security. Other residents used the reviews to demand that property owners install security cameras and hire more active security guards.
When foreseeable crime occurs that could have been prevented by reasonable measures, the owners and managers can be held liable for damages. It is up to the families of the victims and the survivors of violent crime to demand justice in the civil court system. Only then will distant or negligent landlords have the motivation they need to make the necessary changes to their properties. Together we can Make Atlanta Safe, one community at a time.
Only the survivors of violent crimes or the families of victims can use the civil court system to hold property owners and managers accountable when they fail to take reasonable precautions to protect tenants and guests from known threats. By holding them accountable, we can motivate property owners to make meaningful changes to prevent violent crime from happening to others. In that way, together, we can help Make Atlanta Safe.
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