Could Berkeley Heights Apartments owners’ negligence lead to civil liability for a fatal triple shooting at the building?
A triple shooting involving a father and son and a third party at the Berkeley Heights Apartments is being investigated by Atlanta police. One of the three people shot is dead while two other gunfire victims were treated at the hospital for their wounds.
The altercation happened on the top floor of the apartment’s parking structure. Police believe the incident started as a dispute that escalated out of control, but are investigating what caused the argument.
A silver sedan was seen leaving the scene of the shooting and police are asking the driver of that vehicle or any other witnesses to come forward.
If a likelihood of crime and violence can be foreseen an apartment complex, Georgia state law requires property owners to install reasonable security measures. To combat crime in the neighborhood, landlords and property managers may be compelled to put in place appropriate security measures such visible video cameras, on-site security, perimeter fence with access-controlled gates, and even a guard station at the entrance gate.
The good news is that research has shown that apartment buildings with visible security cameras, operable access-controlled gates, safe perimeter fencing, enough illumination, and, when the need arises, professional security guards it can minimize violent crime.
The online reviews for Berkeley Heights Apartments show a clear pattern of negligence. Residents point out the poor maintenance and a history of car break-ins. “The new garage gate they installed is always broken,” says one reviewer and the result is “cars are constantly getting broken into.”
“People have been robbed in ‘secured’ areas,” writes another concerned resident noting the apartment managers have, “gotten rid of much-needed security guards and replaced them with ‘patrol security,” who “only come when you need them.”
Georgia law requires property owners to take reasonable measures to prevent predicted crimes. If landlords do not confront criminal activity that is occurring in the neighborhood, they frequently wind up encouraging a cycle of violence.
While law enforcement can apprehend and prosecute criminals, there isn't much police can do to force property owners to take steps to prevent crime on their property – nor can they make amends to the victims' families.
Only those who have survived a violent crime or the family of the victim are eligible to sue landlords and apartment managers in civil court. Even though it will never fully compensate for the anguish caused by violent crime, a civil judgment can help with expenditures like medical bills and lost wages as well as serve as a starting point for recovery.
When crime victims are awarded considerable financial compensation, property owners and managers may feel pressured to adopt precautionary measures to deter future violent crimes on their property.
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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