Crime Up at Fulwood Park, Prompting Discussion of Nighttime Closure
The City of Tifton has announced that it is considering closing Fulwood Park at nightfall every day due to an increase in criminal activity at the park. Under the city’s current ordinance, the park is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., but the new proposal would adjust those hours to between dawn and dusk. The move comes on the heels of several high-profile criminal incidents at the park. On January 7, an 18-year-old man at the park was approached by a man wearing a black mask and black jacket, who proceeded to rob him while holding what appeared to be an assault weapon. Police later determined that the victim was in the park to meet the assailant for a drug deal. And in December 2022, a dog walker was randomly shot at while leaving the park in her car. City officials said they are in the process of adding surveillance cameras and increased lighting at the park.
While robberies and assaults are usually charged as crimes, they can also present premises liability issues for property owners, as a Tifton accident attorney explains below.
Does Premises Liability Law Cover Third-Party Crimes?
Premises liability law concerns the duties owed by property owners to visitors to their property and under what circumstances the property owner may be held liable for injuries to visitors. One of the most common types of premises liability cases is slip and fall cases. But property owners may also be liable for crimes committed by third parties on their property in some cases. Generally, property owners owe invitees (those invited onto the property for a commercial purpose, such as store customers) the duty to exercise ordinary care to keep the premises safe. If a third-party criminal act occurs on the property that could have been prevented with better security, the property owner may be liable for negligence.
The Foreseeability Issue
The key inquiry in third-party premises liability claims is whether the crime was foreseeable. Random acts of violence typically are not considered foreseeable in this context. However, a plaintiff may have an easier time showing foreseeability by demonstrating that the crime was part of a pattern of crime of which the property owner was aware. Some situations in which crime might be considered foreseeable include:
- The property is located in a high-crime area
- Other property owners in the area have installed enhanced security measures
- Similar crimes have occurred recently on the same premises
- An ongoing inflammatory situation that could lead to assault or another crime
The last scenario typically arises when fights erupt between customers at a commercial establishment and the property owner fails to stop them before bystanders are injured.
Pursue a Premises Liability Claim with Help from a Tifton Accident Attorney
If you have suffered an injury due to being the victim of a crime on someone else’s property, you may be able to pursue a premises liability claim under the right circumstances. For more information, please contact a Tifton accident attorney at the Hudson Injury Firm by calling 229-396-5848 or using our online form.