Articles Tagged with Apartment Shooting Victim

ApartmentDoor-300x241Apartment residents and guests have a right to feel safe and secure while on property. Although it is the responsibility of the apartment complex owner and management to protect those legally on premises, prospective tenants should thoroughly investigate safety measures prior to signing a lease.

Apartments.com urges residents to review the following “7 Apartment Safety Questions…Before Signing a Lease“:

  1. Are window treatments included? Window treatements are paramount for privacy and safety, so figure out if you need to buy your own.
  2. Have the locks been changed? Your locks should be changed before you move in. Make sure to specify that new locks should be placed on your doors, not recycled ones.
  3. Is the complex safe at night? What are the concierge hours? Will you park your car in a garage, or an open, uncovered lot? If the latter, is it gated and well-lit?
  4. Is there a fire extinguisher on the premises? Find out if your apartment comes with a fire extinguisher (most do), and where it’s located if you need it in an emergency.
  5. Has it been checked for mold? Mold can be a serious problem, causing allergic reactions, respiratory problems, headaches and eye iritation.
  6. Do the appliances work properly?
  7. What’s the neighborhood like? SafeWise recommends CrimeReports.com, CrimeMapping.com and SpotCrime.com as valuable resources.

I am the Victim of Apartment Violence. Should I Hire an Attorney that has Telephoned Me or Contacted Me Directly?

The American Bar Association Rule 7.3 states that a lawyer “shall not” contact a prospective Client through a “live telephone” or an “in-person” visit. If an attorney, or someone acting on behalf of an attorney, contacts you in this manner, that attorney is in violation of this Rule. This unethical and unprofessional activity on the part of the lawyer is good sign that you should stay away. It is imperative that you are represented by an attorney who is capable of advocating for you within the confines of the law, and an attorney who fails to abide by the Rules of Professional Conduct is probably not the best fit. In fact, any such attorney should be immediately reported to the local State Bar Association. If you have been contacted in such an unsolicited manner, contact us and we’ll assist you in filing a report.

Can I Afford an Attorney?

Our Clients frequently come in concerned that they won’t be able to afford legal help. We believe everyone has a right to exceptional legal service. We represent our Clients on a contingency agreement, which generally means that no fees or payments are owed until and unless we recover. This means our interests are always tied to that of our Clients. Be sure to ask any potential personal injury attorney about their fee schedule and whether they represent Clientele on a contingency basis before signing a contract.

You Deserve Justice. We Can Help.

The Murray Law Firm has an extensive and successful record representing victims and families of negligent security at apartment complexes. We have recovered millions of dollars for our Clients, and we offer our legal assistance, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.
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ApartmentCrimeAll families have a right to provide a safe and secure home for their children.  Yet, apartment complex security is all too often out of the hands of residents, leaving tenants at increased risk of intrusion or burglary. Safewise offers renters the following guide to selecting a safe apartment complex and tips on keeping your apartment home secure:

Before Moving In

Before deciding on a new residence, it is important to consider security. Follow these guidelines before signing a lease to help protect yourself and your family.

1. Research Local Crime

When you think you’ve found your dream apartment, check local crime data in its vicinity. Make sure you know about any troubling activities in the area before committing to a lease. Talk to the local police and your future landlord and neighbors to get an honest picture of what life will be like in your new place. Websites like CrimeReports.comCrimeMapping.com, and SpotCrime.com can give you a good idea of the local crime history in almost any community.

2. Test Lighting

Robbers and intruders prefer to sneak around in poorly-lit or dark areas. Therefore, when considering an apartment, check the entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, elevators, stairways, mail areas, and laundry rooms to make sure they have enough lighting at night. The fewer places an offender has to hide, the safer you’ll be.

3. Observe General Upkeep

Take in the general look and feel of your new place. Broken windows, cracked drywall, or water stains could show a lack of concern from the landlord. Check to see if the lawn and landscaping are well-kept. If the landlord can’t take care of basic maintenance, he or she probably isn’t concerned with general security.

4. Check Apartment Entrances

When looking at apartments, consider the security of the building. Many times, an outside entry door will require a key, pass code, or buzz-in to access the hallways and doors of the actual apartments. This way, residents control who can approach their apartment door, reducing loitering, break-ins, and solicitors.

5. Try the Peephole

door peepholeA peephole can keep you and your family safe by allowing you to see who’s at your door before you open it. If your door does not have a peephole, inquire about having one installed before you move in. When a questionable character is at your door, a peephole will help you and your children avoid any compromising situations.

6. Get New Door Locks

Replacing your locks reduces the risk of unwanted persons being able to access your new place. Many landlords say they’ve replaced the locks, but sometimes apartment managers will just rotate the old locks between apartments, and extra keys are not always returned. When you move into new housing, you never know how many keys have gone missing or how many previous tenants may still have keys. Ask your landlord about having your locks replaced with brand new locks, not redistributed old ones. Don’t risk somebody being able to return to your apartment with an old key.

7. Examine Window Locks

Good window locks keep intruders from gaining easy access to your residence. This is especially true for windows on the ground level, but all windows should be properly checked—you’d be surprised how determined burglars can be. Treat all windows as potential entry points, and make sure all window locks are working properly and cannot be manipulated from the outside.

8. Note Fire Escapes

fire escape safetyIn apartment complexes, exterior fire escapes can be lifesavers during an emergency, but their access to windows and balconies can also attract burglars. If your apartment has a fire escape, make sure it is stored properly off the ground, so intruders can’t reach your apartment.

Robbers and intruders prefer to sneak around in poorly-lit or dark areas. Therefore, when considering an apartment, check the entrances, hallways, walkways, parking areas, elevators, stairways, mail areas, and laundry rooms to make sure they have enough lighting at night. The fewer places an offender has to hide, the safer you’ll be.

After Moving In

Once you’ve found your dream apartment, keep your family and valuables safe with ongoing security measures.

1. Buy Additional Locks

For added safety, consider installing a deadbolt and chain lock if your door doesn’t already have them. A deadbolt is more secure and difficult to pick than a standard doorknob lock, because the deadbolt only opens by rotating the lock cylinder, whereas a spring bolt lock can retracted by applying force to the bolt itself. Additionally, a chain lock provides an extra layer of security when opening your door, allowing you to open your door a crack to talk to a stranger or ask for identification, before opening up completely.

2. Bolster Sliding Doors

sliding door lockBalcony doors are great for sunshine and views, but they can pose a hazard if they are not properly secured. An unsecured sliding door can provide an intruder with a relatively untraceable and quiet entrance to your place. While it’s important to always lock your balcony door when it’s not in use, many sliding doors have inadequate locks and come off their tracks with just a nudge. For optimal security, make sure to arm your sliding door with an inside bar lock or a pole on the track. You can also install a secondary locking mechanism with a metal pin inserted through the doorframe and into the sliding door.

3. Invest in Good Blinds

Good blinds may prevent robbers from looking inside your home and being tempted by all the valuables they see. Install blinds that completely block the view from outside, and make sure to close them when you go out. That way, you’ll keep wandering eyes from scanning your valuables and reduce your risk of break-ins.

4. Use a Safe

A safe can be a last line of defense to protect your most valuable and irreplaceable possessions. Items such as jewelry, cash, firearms, and sensitive documents can be locked away in a fireproof case. Safes come in all sizes and range in price from under $100 to thousands of dollars. Find a safe that fits your budget and needs, and talk to your landlord about bolting it to a floor or wall, so a burglar can’t pick it up and take it. While a safe can’t guarantee the absolute protection of your property, it can be effective at hiding items from thieves who are just looking to grab valuables in plain sight and escape quickly.

5. Get Renters Insurance

Renters insurance will protect the value of your possessions in case they are stolen or destroyed by a disaster. Your landlord may have an insurance policy, but those generally only cover the building you live in, not your personal belongings. Many insurance companies offer policies specifically for renters that run about $20 a month and cover all your property at the full replacement cost. Renters insurance can also protect you in case of a liability lawsuit where you are deemed responsible for the damage of another tenant’s property. You may think you don’t own very much, but consider the cost of replacing everything you own in the event of a theft, fire, or severe weather. If you wouldn’t be able to recover from the loss, then renters insurance is a good option.

6. Install a Security System

Renters are 85% more likely to experience a home invasion than those who own their homes, and while many security companies won’t sell to renters, some will (source). In the past, security systems were not renter-friendly due to an intrusive installation process, but now renters have several options.

Read the complete Safewise Apartment Security Guide for Renters here.

Advocates for victims of apartment violence and security negligence at The Murray Law Firm urge our readers to take apartment safety into their own hands and to work with their apartment owners, managers and neighbors to create a safe and secure home for their families.

 

We’ve Recovered Millions for Victims of Apartment Security Negligence…Contact us Now for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of violence and apartment security negligence.  We offer our legal assistance, if desired.  We represent our Clients on a contingency agreement, which generally means that no fees or payments are owed until and unless we recover.  Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us via e-mail (click here) or by telephone at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

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Children Attend 2012 Prayer Rally to End Violence at River Glen Apartments. (The Augusta Chronicle)

Children Attend Prayer Rally to End Violence at River Glenn Apartments. (The Augusta Chronicle)

Every family has a right to raise their children in a safe, secure environment. Yet, as apartment violence soars across the country, many apartment complex residents live terrified for the safety of their families. The violence must stop!

How can police help to prevent crime in my apartment community?

Many police departments are now taking a proactive approach to apartment crime. They have developed training programs to educate apartment owners and mangers on how to protect residents and reduce community crime. These free incentive programs encourage apartment complex owners to improve their communities through specific physical changes, such as the installation of bright lighting, proper window and door locks, surveillance cameras, and fencing. They also teach apartment owners and managers how to recognize criminal activity on property.

The Dallas Police Department describes their Gold Star Certification Program as “a cooperative effort between the Dallas Police Department, Apartment Association of Greater Dallas, along with owners, managers and residents of apartment communities to combat crime in those communities.”

Talk to your local police department to see if they offer an apartment-focused crime reduction program and what you can do to get your apartment complex owner, manager, and neighbors involved.

Is my apartment complex legally responsible for keeping residents safe?

By law, apartment complex owners and management companies are required to protect all residents and guests legally on premises from any foreseeable harm. For example, should an apartment owner have knowledge of previous violence on or near property, they have a duty to take extraordinary security precautions to protect residents and deter future crime.

Security precautions may include:

  • Enrollment in a crime-reduction training program at the police department.
  • Background checks on tenants prior to residency and a crime-free tenant rental contract.
  • Installment of security precautions, such as bright lighting, security patrols, fencing, gated-entry, surveillance cameras, locks, and alarm systems.
  • Review of daily 911 activity logs for the property and surrounding neighborhood.
  • Proper maintenance of property and structures, including fencing, gating, lighting, windows, cameras and locks.

What can neighbors do to stop crime in their apartment community?

Many apartment complex residents want to take a proactive approach to protecting their families and reducing apartment community crime.

  • See something, say something. Following a string of shootings, residents of a New York apartment complex recently coordinated with police, city leaders, neighbors and apartment management to create a neighborhood watch.
  • Speak out. Residents of a Georgia apartment complex plagued with violence, recently hosted a peace rally to bring attention to apartment complex violence. These peaceful protests encourage neighbors to watch out for one another, community leaders and police to get involved, and witnesses and victims of violent crimes to come forward.
  • Know your rights. If you’ve been injured or lost a loved one to apartment complex violence, speak with an experienced premises liability firm to learn your rights. No one should have to raise their family in fear.

We are here to Help. Contact us for a Free Consultation.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive and successful experience in representing victims of apartment violence and security negligence in and we offer our legal expertise, if desired. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 888.842.1616. Consultations are free and confidential.

 

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