An online news report published on ajc.com states that violent crime and murders have tens of thousands of residents at several apartment complexes throughout metro Atlanta living in fear. The AJC article blames a deadly mix of "lax security, governmental inertia, deferred maintenance, and the State of Georgia's weak tenant-protection laws for making Atlanta-area apartments "barely habitable." The AJC investigation studied over 1,000 apartment complexes in Cobb, Fulton, DeKalb, Gwinnett, and Clayton counties.
The AJC probe discovered that more than three-fourths of the area's most treacherous apartments belong to either private equity firms or absentee investors under whom crime and squalor are not so much bad fortune as collateral damage from a widely followed business model. The AJC report says that these owners usually perform cosmetic-only renovations, raise rents, and limit spending on maintenance and security. Many investors flip the apartment properties to double their money in just a few years. Usually, the next apartment complex owners repeat the same cycle. Moreover, profits are often bolstered by taxpayers through tax credits, government rental-assistance programs, and disproportionate benefit of public services such as school, fire, and police to transform run-down apartment complexes into valuable assets for their investors.
One attorney for residents at a dangerous apartment complex was quoted in the article stating that landlords are enriched by breaking people in the community with treacherous housing conditions that taxpayers are financing.
The yearlong investigation reviewed lawsuits, real estate documents, promotional materials for investors, financial statements, crime reports, code inspections, and other public records. The AJC also interviewed current and former apartment residents living at substandard apartments, housing activists, housing experts, landlords, and lawyers familiar with the issues. The investigation identified over 250 dangerous apartment complexes plagued by violent crimes, horrendous living conditions, and mold that sickened numerous residents and their children.
Tragically, Atlanta-area apartment complexes are also overwhelmingly occupied by minorities. Robberies, shootings, and other violent crimes have become common in many apartment complexes, and most of the crimes are committed by perpetrators who do not even live in the apartment complexes, according to police. Unfortunately, tenants living at these dangerous apartment complexes cannot afford to pay for safer homes and become entrapped in apartment complexes and become either victims or reluctant witnesses of violent crimes.
The AJC report states that 162 out of 250 Atlanta apartment complexes accounted for one out of five homicides. For example, at Forest Cove, police have opened 19 murder investigations since 2009. East Ponce Village has sustained 11 murders over the past ten years. The Life at Greenbriar apartments in southwest Atlanta has experienced eight murders.
Every day Atlanta apartment complexes place an outsized burden on law enforcement and other public safety services. For example, over 4,100 calls came from The Life at Greenbriar. One-third were reports of shootings, fights, armed robberies, and violent crimes. Of those 4,100 calls, 20 calls involved rapes, and another 167 calls involved shootings. According to law enforcement officials and criminologists, crime at apartment complexes like The Life at Greenbriar is a direct byproduct of the apartment's disarray and disrepair.
According to Olive Tree Holdings, the firm owned The Life at Greenbriar and spent over $4 million on landscaping, renovations, security equipment, and a new playground. The security equipment included surveillance cameras, lighting, and gates. Nevertheless, the apartment complex's gates never closed, allowing easy access to potential perpetrators.
A former resident at the Life at Greenbriar stated that gunfire is heard at all hours, and a bullet once flew through her apartment window. A resident was killed during that shooting incident. One of the apartments was vacant and was taken over by homeless people. The apartment was found to contain over one pound of marijuana and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. Some vacant units are being used to deal drugs. Residents state that squatters and drug dealers have become commonplace at the apartment complex.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury, or if you lost a loved one due to a violent crime at an apartment complex in Atlanta, contact Montlick Injury Attorneys, for your free consultation today. Our crime victim lawsuit lawyers have been representing those who suffer serious injuries or lost a loved one in an accident for over 38 years. Our trial attorneys have recovered billions of dollars for our personal injury clients through negotiated settlements, litigation/lawsuits, settlement of lawsuits, jury verdicts, mediation, and arbitration awards.
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