Atlanta Shooting Victim Lawyer
Mike Rafi of Rafi Law Firm has helped shooting victims recover more than $15 million. He wins shooting cases because he knows the neighborhoods, the people, and the police. Mike has helped clients who were shot in places like Atlanta, College Park, Decatur, Brookhaven, Buckhead, Austell, Jonesboro, and Duluth. If you’re a crime victim in Atlanta, work with an Atlanta shooting victim lawyer because you may be entitled to recover money for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Rafi Law Firm represents family of 18-year-old murdered in Lawrenceville mall parking lot
In 2019 another teenager was shot and injured in the same parking lot as Elijah DeWitt. The civil suit filed on behalf of DeWitt’s family alleges Sugarloaf Mills, Simon Property Group, Allied Universal, and Dave & Buster’s failed to provide adequate security in a location known to have significant crime. Dewitt’s family hopes the civil suit will prompt change and protect others who visit Sugarloaf Mills Mall.
“You have a responsibility to protect your
customers, especially when you know that
there’s dangerous activity going on.”
Shooting Victim Basics
For a shooting victim to win a negligent security case, the victim must show it was “foreseeable” to the owner that a shooting could occur. When something is “foreseeable,” it just means that there was a reasonable chance it could happen. Generally, foreseeability is proven by showing the landlord knew about prior crimes that were substantially similar to the shooting that injured the victim.
It’s crucial that your Atlanta shooting lawyer conduct an exhaustive investigation, including identifying prior crimes, locating the victims and having them testify about what happened to them, and locating former employees and having them testify about the landlord’s knowledge of prior crimes.
What Is The Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program?
As an Atlanta shooting victim lawyer, attorney Mike Rafi must help victims access treatment and resources for recovery. In Atlanta, the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council administers the Georgia Crime Victims Compensation Program, which helps victims and their families through the emotional and physical aftermath of crime.
The Compensation Program eases the monetary impact on families by providing financial benefits for expenses such as medical bills, loss of earnings, funeral expenses, mental health counseling, and crime scene sanitization.
To be eligible for the program:
- You are an innocent victim of a violent crime and suffered personal injury
- You went to the aid of another and suffered personal injury and/or serious mental or emotional trauma as a result
- You witnessed or were threatened with a crime and suffered serious mental or emotional trauma as a result
- You are the parent or legal guardian of a minor victim
- You are the parent or legal guardian of a minor victim, and you lost wages or support due to the victimization
- You are the surviving spouse, parent, sibling, or child of a homicide victim (includes step relationships for crimes occurring on or after May 6, 2015)
- You were legally dependent on support from a deceased crime victim
- You are a domestic violence victim who is dependent on support from the offender
- You are not the victim, but you have been paying bills related to the crime.
What Is The Crime Victims Advocacy Council?
The Crime Victims Advocacy Council (CVAC) is dedicated to preventing crime and assisting crime victims and their families and communicates in Georgia through quality education, advocacy, counseling, and legislative initiatives. CVAC was founded in 1989 and has helped close to 10,000 crime victims. Click here to view CVAC’s brochure.
CVAC has a hotline for crime victims to call if they need support: 770-333-9254.
CVAC also offers scholarships to qualified, degree-seeking students. These 1-year scholarships are offered in the amount of $2,000.00 and will be based upon merit, need, and the availability of funds. Click here to download the application.
What are the Crime Victims Bill of Rights?
The Georgia Crime Victims Bill of Rights provides individuals who are victims of certain crimes specific rights. These rights include:
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any scheduled court proceedings or any changes to such proceedings
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of the arrest, release, or escape of the accused
- The right not to be excluded from any scheduled court proceedings, except as provided by law
- The right to be heard at any scheduled court proceedings involving the release, plea, or sentencing of the accused
- The right to file a written objection in any parole proceedings involving the accused
- The right to confer with the prosecuting attorney in any criminal prosecution related to the victim
- The right to restitution as provided by law
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay
- The right to be treated fairly and with dignity by all criminal justice agencies involved in the case
The Crime Victims Bill of Rights specifically applies to victims of the following crimes:
- Assault and battery
- Kidnapping, false imprisonment, and related offenses
- Reckless conduct
- Cruelty to children
- Stalking and aggravated stalking
- Cruelty to a person 65 years of age or older
- All sexual offenses
- Arson, Bombs, and explosives
- Forgery, deposit account fraud, illegal use of financial transaction cards, other fraud-related offenses, computer crimes, and identity theft Sale or distribution of harmful materials to minors
- Homicide by vehicle
- Feticide by vehicle
- Serious injury by vehicle
What Should You Do Before You Move in?
Even before you go look at an apartment complex, you can find out information and statistics about crime in the area and at the complex. Call local police and ask if any officers are familiar with and will talk to you about the complex. Also, be sure to search the internet for information about the complex.
These websites will help you find information:
When you do go to the complex, ask management about any recent crimes. Ask management if they have issued any warnings to residents about crime or dangerous activity. Also ask any residents that you see if they know of any crime, if they feel safe, and if they think security measures are adequate.
When you first get to the apartment complex, take notice of the entrances to the complex itself and individual buildings. When you leave, do the same thing with the exits. Gates at the entrances to the complex will help deter criminals from committing crimes on the property.
At entrance points, gates prevent unwanted people from entering, and at exit points, gates prevent criminals from getting away quickly after committing a crime.
Individual buildings within the complex can have security to keep criminals away. It is best if doors on the outside of the building only allow people in who have the correct key, passcode, or the okay from someone inside the building already. These controlled-access doors reduce break-ins, loitering, and the chance that you will be hurt at the complex.
If there are security guards at the complex, then you should quickly see them. The presence of security guards will help stop criminals from coming on the property. Whether you see security guards or not, you should ask whether the complex has them. If there are guards, ask how many and whether the guards travel on foot and in vehicles. Make sure the patrols are randomly timed throughout the day, so criminals can’t learn the patrol’s schedule.
If the complex doesn’t have guards, ask why not. Ask whether the complex regularly re-evaluates the need for security. Also ask if the complex has ever had security before, and if so, why it stopped having security.
While you are at the apartment complex, take a look at how the complex looks in general. Boarded or broken windows, run-down or damaged buildings or parking lots, and unkempt landscaping are all signs that the landlord does not properly maintain the property. Think about it: if the landlord doesn’t keep the place looking good, do you think they are worried about security?
When you walk into certain stores and many gas stations, you will be able to tell security cameras are in use because you will see yourself live on a television screen. There are also usually signs telling you that you are being recorded. These things are important because security cameras can only deter crimes if criminals know they will be recorded.
If you see security cameras and signs, ask why the complex has them – find out if it is because there was prior crime. Ask whether the footage is reviewed and how long the footage is saved for.
If there are no security cameras and signs, then ask if there are cameras that you can’t see. If there aren’t, ask if the complex is considering cameras and learn why they think they do or don’t need the cameras.
Poorly-lit or dark areas make it easier for criminals to gain access to the property and commit crimes. Before you agree to move in, go to the complex at night. Check the entrances, parking lot, walkways, hallways, stairways, elevators, mailbox areas, laundry rooms, and other common areas to make sure all these places are well-lit. The more places that are well-lit, the safer you will be.
Every apartment complex should change the locks after a tenant moves out and before a new tenant moves in. The benefit of this is probably obvious: you have no idea if prior tenants actually returned their keys or whether they made copies. Ultimately, the fewer people who have access to your new apartment, the better.
But, apartment complexes don’t always actually change the locks, or if they do, they will just re-use locks used on other apartment doors. Since you can’t be sure the landlord actually changed the lock, ask if the complex will change the locks in front of you – if they refuse, then you should look elsewhere.
According to some estimates, up to 30% of criminals enter through windows. When you are inside the apartment, make sure all of the window locks are properly working. If they are broken ask for them to be replaced.
Test the windows by locking them and making sure you can’t open the window. If you can, request an apartment on a higher floor – it may take longer to carry your groceries up the stairs, but it will help you sleep safe and sound at night.
A peephole is a simple thing that can protect you while you are inside your apartment. If there is a peephole, make sure you can look from inside to outside and clearly see a person on the other side. If the door does not have a peephole, then ask for one.
Never open your door unless you know who is on the other side. A peephole lets you make sure you know the person at the door.
What to Do After You Move in
Once you move in, you should keep an eye out for any crimes. Regularly ask management if there has been any crime at the complex. Talk to residents and learn if they have heard of any dangerous activity. Be on the look out for any police officers or police cars on the property, and if you see them, find out why they were there. Remember to also search your apartment complex on the internet every so often to see if any crime stories pop up.
Even if you had the complex change exterior locks, consider installing a deadbolt and door-chain. A deadbolt is more secure than a standard lock to pick, because the deadbolt will only open by rotating the lock cylinder, while a standard lock is controlled by a spring bolt that can be opened by applying force to it. A door-chain, like a deadbolt, is an added security measure that lets you identify and talk to visitors without completely unlocking and opening your door.
Sliding doors are a great feature in an apartment, but can be an entry point for criminals if improperly manufactured or installed. Many sliding doors have cheap or faulty locks and can be forced off their tracks with relatively little force. Buy and use a security bar that prevents a sliding door from being opened from the outside—these bars can attach to the door itself or sit on the track.
Blinds prevent would-be criminals from window shopping into your apartment. Install blinds that will completely block people outside of your apartment from seeing inside, and make sure you close your blinds when you leave your apartment.
Studies show criminals try to determine if an apartment they are targeting has a security system before breaking in, and if so, they will look for an easier target. In the past, the cost of installing a security system made it difficult for apartment renters to do so, but now, many companies have free installs. Newer apartments may even have security systems already installed, so all you have to do is activate the system.