Police responded to reports of gunshots at the Ashford Town and Country Apartments in Fairburn, Georgia around 6:30 a.m. on January, 24. When officers arrived, according to CBS 46, they “found a 54-year-old man suffering from a fatal gunshot wound” behind one of the apartments. The man has since been identified as Lionel Robinson.
Police are reviewing surveillance video from the scene, and they are speaking to “several persons of interest,” but even if they manage to arrest suspects related to Mr. Robinson’s murder, there will still be questions about whether the owners and managers of Ashford Town and Country Apartments did enough to deter known criminal threats and keep residents and guests safe on the property.
Georgia law requires property owners to make reasonable efforts to protect people on their property from foreseeable threats. While the news reports indicate the apartments had surveillance cameras, it is well known to negligent security lawyers that cameras which are not conspicuous don’t have a deterrent effect. Even more importantly, proper lighting, access controls such as gates, and visible security officers are known to be much more effective at deterring violent crime on a property.
Many online reviews of Ashford Town and Country Apartments note trash in the common areas and complain that management does not respond to maintenance requests. When an apartment community is dirty and has obvious maintenance issues, it can send a signal to criminals that the property is not cared for, and perpetrators may feel they are more likely to escape justice for crimes committed on the property.
That is why the law allows the victims of violent crimes and their families to hold property owners and management companies accountable when they fail to take reasonable precautions to keep residents and guests safe from known criminal threats. The civil trial courts provide a legal path for families to demand compensation for the loss of their loved ones.
It’s up to the victims of violent crime to stand up and demand justice. If property owners and management companies are financially liable for failing to take reasonable measures to prevent crime on their property, then their insurance companies may demand they make upgrades to keep people safe. Filing a lawsuit is one way a family can demand changes to help prevent violent crime from happening to someone else in the future. In this way, we can help make Atlanta safe, one community at a time.