Could the owners of the Commons be liable for the fourth shooting on their property in as many months?
Atlanta police were called to the Commons Apartments at 10:00 PM to investigate reports of gunfire. They found Havord Head, a local teenager, dead at the scene. Two other victims were rushed to the hospital, and their condition is unknown. Police believe that the shooting was the result of a robbery gone wrong, and also suspect that drugs were involved.
When property owners ignore repeated criminal behavior and fail to take efforts to keep control of who has access to their property, they may be creating an environment that invites additional crime. Under Georgia law, property owners may be held liable if they do not take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crimes. Visible cameras, perimeter fencing with access-controlled gates, adequate lighting, and when justified by the level of crime, the presence of a private security guard have been shown to help deter violent crime.
The Commons Apartments, formerly known as Allen Hills, has a well-documented history of violent crime on the premises. Neighbors told reporters that prior to the incident that wounded Jones, “shootings have been out of control.”
Earlier this month Timmie Thomas, 31-year-old, was killed at the complex.
In December, 2021, a local mail carrier and an innocent bystander were killed during daylight hours at the Commons Apartment complex.
Three people were injured in a shooting at the Commons on November 28, 2021. All three victims were taken to a local hospital and their names and conditions have not been released by authorities.
Online reviews speak of resident concerns over maintenance, insects, and, above all, crime. One resident states that the complex is the “worst ever place to live,” and “the 15-year-olds own guns and they use them too.” He also complains of roaches, bedbugs, and rats. One single-word review states only: “drugs.” Another resident specifically cites that “there needs to be more security,” and that a “curfew needs to be enforced.” A local guide writes, simply, “a scary place to live.”
Two years ago, residents sued the complex for poor living conditions, focused on a rodent problem on the premises.
Property managers are required by law to take reasonable measures to prevent foreseeable crimes. When they fail to do this, properties can become safe havens for criminal activity and lead to a cycle of violence. It is up to the families of victims of violent crime to stand up to property owners and demand accountability in a court of law. By filing a lawsuit in the civil justice system, victims of violent crimes and their families can seek compensation for damages. In some cases where victims are awarded a significant amount of money, it can cause property owners and managers to make significant security enhancements to prevent future violence on their properties. If we can compel landlords to improve security on their properties, then we can help 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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