Criminal Attacks are Happening More Frequently and Many Perpetrators Are Not Prosecuted or Go to Jail
In 2011, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 5.8 million violent criminal attacks, according to a report released by the Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. These estimates are based on data from the annual National Crime Victimization Survey. Even worse, many of these criminals committing rape and assault do not go to jail. In fact, out of 1,000 sexual assaults, 975 perpetrators will walk free. And out of 1000 assault and battery crimes, 959 will never be charged with a felony.
Criminal Attacks are Preventable
Rape and assault attacks often occur at apartment complexes, restaurants, hotels, and other businesses. These businesses, which invite you onto their property and profit accordingly, have a legal responsibility to provide a safe environment for their customers. And a responsibility to prevent crimes that are predictable.
Many crimes result from business owners providing inadequate security for their customers. In these situations, a crime victim has a civil claim for damages against the business.
To establish liability in Georgia for inadequate security against a business, an injured party must show that the business owner has breached a duty “to exercise ordinary care in keeping the premises and approaches safe.”
Concerning criminal attacks, the business owner’s duty extends only to foreseeable criminal acts. In Sturbridge Partners v. Walker, 267 Ga. 785 (1997), the Supreme Court of Georgia “laid to rest the artificial notion that a crime against a person could never be foreseen by previous crimes against property” and, instead, provided more flexible guidelines for determining whether a crime is foreseeable. A crime is foreseeable if there have been similar prior crimes and the business owner has failed to act to prevent such crimes.
Prior Criminal Attacks
To determine whether previous criminal acts are similar, the court must inquire into the location, nature, and extent of the prior criminal activities. While the prior criminal activity must be substantially similar to the particular crime in question, that does not mean identical. What is required is that the prior crime is sufficient to attract the business owner’s attention to crime.
For example, are two previous burglaries enough to create the foreseeability of a rape at an apartment complex? Sturbridge concluded that the previous burglaries did create foreseeability because, although the burglaries “were committed when the apartments were vacant, it was reasonable to anticipate that an unauthorized entry might occur while an apartment was occupied and personal harm to a tenant could result.”
Rape and Assault Resources
If you are the victim of rape or assault, you are not alone. Here are some links to organizations that will help you free of cost. This is not something you want to go through without help–so please call!!!
Georgia Crime Victims Compensation: See post.
In rape and assault cases in Atlanta and Georgia, it is critical to obtain records from all prior crimes that occurred where the crime occurred. At Gomez & Golomb LLC, we have been handling these cases for over 20 years. Please call 404-382-9994 to speak with an attorney.