When gun violence occurs in an apartment community, the survivors of violent crimes and the families of the victims may be able to hold the property owners and managers accountable in a court of law.
When there is a history of crime in an apartment community, the management may be expected to ensure the access gate is in working order, maintain an unbroken perimeter fence, upgrade parking lot lighting, install visible security cameras, and if the level of crime warrants, hire on-site security personnel.
Some people argue that residents in an apartment community are responsible for their own security, but there is only so much a renter can do to protect themselves from violent crime. Renters cannot install new parking lot lights to deter criminals from lurking in the shadows. Renters can not fix broken access gates. A tenant can install a security camera in their own apartment, but it would lack the crime-deterring power of visible cameras that are present throughout an entire community. Also, renters cannot and should not be expected to hire security guards; that’s clearly the responsibility of the management and owners.
Renters in apartment complexes often do not know when a crime occurs in a community, but landlords should be aware of when crimes are committed on their property. When crimes are committed at an apartment complex, particularly violent crimes, landlords have an obligation to warn their residents of the known security threats. Many of the people we have represented are shocked and angered when they discover how many violent crimes happened in their community before the tragedy that struck their family. Residents cannot take the proper precautions against violent crime if they aren’t told it is occurring in their neighborhoods.
When landlords ignore the violent crime that occurs on their property and fail to take reasonable steps to reduce the likelihood of violent crime from happening in the future, they may be allowing their apartment community to become a haven for criminals. People bent on committing crimes look for communities that have gates that never work, poor lighting so they can hide in shadows at night, and broken fences so they can easily sneak in and out. Criminals often avoid places where they know they’re being recorded on security cameras, and they don’t want to contend with security officers.
Police can investigate violent crimes, but they can only do so much to prevent crime before it happens. Landlords, however, have the power to make simple improvements to properties that can make their communities less attractive to violent criminals. When they fail to take reasonable precautions to protect residents and guests from known criminal threats, they can be held financially responsible in a court of law when someone is hurt or killed by a violent criminal on their property.
Only the survivors of violent crimes or the families of victims can stand up and hold landlords accountable for failing to make reasonable efforts to reduce crime in their communities. By filing a lawsuit in the civil justice system, those impacted by violent crime may be able to get monetary compensation to help rebuild their broken lives, and just as importantly, a lawsuit may compel landlords to make necessary improvements that could help prevent a similar tragedy from happening to someone else.
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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