Just hours after I blogged about the killing of little Jorelys Rivera, we all learned that the perpetrator was an employee of the apartment complex where Jorelys lived. The horrible crime occurred in a vacant apartment that perpetrator knew was vacant and had easy access to, especially since he was the apartment’s maintenance man. Before I knew any of this, I had already suggested that whoever had done this horrific deed had access to the vacant apartment and knew it was vacant, essentially giving the perpetrator the perfect placd to committ his crime. How did I know before the GBI ever disclosed these facts to the public? Because this is a fact pattern that often repeats itself and as a plaintiff’s personal injury lawyer in Atlanta, I see this in the civil premises safety cases I bring for clients.
Now I read in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution online today a story about another hideous crime, this time the rape of two women. I have often represented such crime victims in civil personal injury lawsuits here in Fulton County, Georgia, against the negligent property owners. Property owners, especially commercial property owners like the apartment complex where Jorelys was killed, know that vacant, abandonded property is a haven for crime. These property owners have a duty to eliminate that risk, to use ordinary care to keep the premises safe. These owners cannot claim they had no idea that a unforseen criminal attack would occur on their property, because they absolutely know if they have vacant property that a criminal can easily gain access to, they are essentially aiding and abetting the crime by furnishing the scene of the crime. This is what happened in these two rapes in Atlanta today and this is what happened in the death of Jorelys Rivera. And with so many homes in Atlanta and in Georgia under Foreclosure now, the problem of anbandoned property is growing.