Park Avenue Apartments crime rate makes residents worry for their safety

Click2Houston.com has published an article about the Park Avenue luxury apartment complex located off Pearland Parkway: the apartment complex is apparently experiencing a tremendous upsurge in criminal activity, and residents are understandably worried for their safety. The complex is located in southeast Houston and according to the complex’ web site offers 10 different luxury floor plans for 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartments.

Residents are particularly on edge after two men forced their way into a mother and daughter’s apartment, pistol whipped them both, and then stole their valuables and both of their cars. A single mom whose apartment was burgled 3 months before is quoted as saying those in charge at Park Avenue Apartments did not do enough to make she and her family feel protected after they were victimized by burglars. She said that there is no security, and the one security person who is present is not proactive and does not get out of his car.

According to the Houston Police Department, officers have been called out to Park Avenue Apartments 65 times since February, of which 21 calls were responding to burglaries. When Channel 2 went to the complex to speak to someone in charge, the property manager of Park Avenue Apartments pushed their reporter aside and threatened to have her arrested.

The Texas Supreme Court‘s decision in Timberwalk Apartments Partners, Inc. v Cain, 972 S.W.2d 749 (Tex. 1998) sets out what a Plaintiff must prove when alleging they were injured or sustained damages due to the failure of a property owner to provide adequate security.  In that particular case, a woman who had been raped alleged that the landlord of her apartment complex was in part responsible for the rape because the landlord failed to provide adequate security. The court held that a duty to protect another person from the criminal acts of a third person exists only when the risk of criminal conduct is go great that the risk is both unreasonable and foreseeable. Whether the risk of criminal conduct is foreseeable should be determined based on what the premises owner knew at the time of the incident, not what could have been known with hindsight.

The court decided that in determining whether certain criminal conduct on a landowner’s property could have been foreseen, courts should consider the following factors:

(1) whether any criminal conduct previously occurred on or near the property;
(2) how recently it occurred;
(3) how often it occurred;
(4) how similar the conduct was to the conduct on the property; and
(5) what publicity was given the occurrences to indicate that the landowner knew or should have known about them.

These have come to be known as the Timberwalk factors. With 21 burglaries since February at Park Avenue Apartments, a news story about the pistol whipping of the mother and daughter residents on Wednesday, a news article today, a visit to the Property Manager from a Channel 2 reporter who was kicked out and at least one resident who said she broke her lease and moved out due to concerns she had for her family’s safety, it certainly seems that Park Avenue Apartments is very much on notice that they have a crime problem on their property.

As of July 15, 2011, Park Avenue Apartments has 8 reviews showing up on Google and is rated by reviewers as 1.5 stars out of 5. The Park Avenue Apartments July 2011 community newsletter includes a crossword and a recipe for blueberry ice cream but does not warn or inform residents regarding criminal activity on the property.  The newsletter identifies the Property Manager as Shelly Porter and the Assistant Property Manager as Vanessa Schnell.

The Park Avenue Apartments complex brochure opening paragraph states: “Nothing offers more comfort than the pleasures of a cozy, secure and beautiful home, and nowhere offers a more ideal retreat than Park Avenue at Boulder Creek.”

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