Could the owners of the District at Vinings apartments be civilly liable over a recent shooting on the premises that left one man dead?
Police say Demetrius Dow, a 40-year-old man who lived at the District at Vinings apartments in Cobb County, was fatally shot on August 22, 2022. Around 4 am in the morning, Dow was found outside a building in the complex with multiple gunshot wounds. Despite the efforts of a medical team, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators are reviewing surveillance video and interviewing residents hoping for leads in the case.
In Georgia, landlords are obligated to take adequate security precautions to deter anticipated crimes and risk legal repercussions if they don't. When property managers disregard criminal activity, maintenance, or security issues, and don’t take proper measures to protect residents and visitors from criminal dangers, they could be creating an environment that invites more crime.
Properties that install visible cameras, perimeter fencing with access-controlled gates, adequate lighting, and when justified by the level of crime, hire a private security guard have been shown to curtail violent crime at the apartment complex.
Online reviews from residents accuse property management of slow response times, dangerous living conditions, and not taking action to prevent crime. “There is trash everywhere and the dumpster is always full,” writes one resident.
“These apartments are UNSAFE & UNHABITABLE” states a recent review. Another shares that “the gate does not work for more than half a year every year.”
Cobb County is the third most populous county in Georgia. Only Fulton and Gwinnett counties have more residents. .
Georgia legislation requires landlords and property managers to employ reasonable measures to deter anticipated crimes. A property management company may create a refuge for even more violent crime if it ignores crime in the neighborhood.
While the police can arrest suspects and take them to court, there is very little law enforcement can do to make property owners take the steps needed to make an apartment complex free from violent crime – nor can they compensate the families of the victims.
A civil judgment can help with costs like medical bills and lost wages as well as serve as a beginning step toward healing, even though it may never be able to fully compensate for the suffering brought on by a violent criminal attack. Only the survivors of violent crime, or the victim's family, can file a civil lawsuit against property owners and managers.
When victims win a sizable monetary award, some property owners and managers may elect to implement preventive measures to safeguard against other violent crimes on their premises.
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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