This case involves a child who was killed during an incident of auto theft in a gated rent-controlled apartment complex. The complex had two gates; one securing the vehicle entrance and one securing a separate pedestrian entrance in the back of the complex. The gates were manufactured so that residents could enter a passcode or use a key to unlock the gates. In the weeks before the burglary, however, both gates broke and could be accessed by anyone at any time. Resident began to notice non-residents examining the flaws in the system and complained to the building management numerous times. The management company replied and said they would fix the gates but this was never done. On the evening in question, a group of three non-resident men entered the pedestrian entrance of the complex around 10:30 pm and stole a car. There was an altercation as the burglars were driving out of the parking lot causing them to run over an 8-year-old child. Shortly after the incident, the property owners raised the rent and notified residents the increase would contribute to completely fixing the gates and to installing security cameras around the property. More than a year after the incident, the gates were still not fixed.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Please describe your experience working either in apartment complex management or security.
Expert Witness Response E-062687
I have operated properties similar to the one described and have the training, education, experience, and credibility to bring to mediation or to a jury if needed. I have worked with multifamily apartment communities for 25+ years. I have experienced large communities with gates and security issues and crimes committed against persons and resident property. I have presented at and been exposed to apartment security seminars over my career. This property manager’s actions fell below the standard of care for apartment security for sure. When I managed a 600 unit gated apartment complex, I had a 3rd party contracted security firm to secure the property between 6 PM and sunrise. There was always at least one guard on duty at that time, and this firm was licensed through the state to carry and use firearms and arrest individuals if necessary before calling for police assistance. The security firm operated a hotline 24/7 that all the tenants had access to and call if there were any problems.