Your Biggest Safety Concerns in 2015

December 23, 2015

After the murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter in late 2014, practitioners started this year with safety top-of-mind. Fortunately, there wasn’t a case of violent crime against real estate professionals in 2015 that rose to the level Carter’s did. But reports of threats against agents continued to trickle in from around the country, including the disappearance of a male agent in Arizona, a cyberstalker in Louisiana, and a caller who threatened to rape an agent’s family in South Carolina.

Even events around the world, such as the terror attacks in Paris, lent more prominence to the issue of safety for us all. This year, REALTOR® Magazine paid closer attention to the safety concerns of our readers and endeavored to create content that offered both food for thought and actual solutions for staying safe in the field. These are some of the biggest safety topics we grappled with in 2015.

Are You Really Safer With a Gun?

The national conversation around gun violence reached a fever pitch this year, given the increasing number of mass shootings like those in San Bernardino, Calif. Nonetheless, it’s a common argument in the real estate community that being strapped on the job will increase your chances of thwarting an attack if you find yourself in a dangerous situation with a prospect. But law enforcement experts say that may put practitioners at even greater risk. Read more.

Man to Man: You’re Just as at Risk

Safety is often presented as an issue most relevant to women. But the case of Sidney Cranston Jr., a male agent in Arizona who went missing in June, offered a new perspective for men. Cranston vanished from a home showing under mysterious circumstances and has yet to be found. In this piece, California sales professional Gene Lentz offers his thoughts on why men need to be just as cautious as women in real estate — and he shares his own experience escaping danger. Read more.

Why Criminals Choose You

A criminal almost never chooses his or her victims at random. When deciding whom to attack, the assailant goes through a five-stage evaluation process in their mind to determine a person’s suitability as a target. Learn how to look at yourself the way a criminal would, and you’ll see what makes you the perfect victim and how to change that perception. Read more.

Safety Checklist for Showings

Your office may have established a set of safety protocols, but how much will they matter when you’re in danger in the field and every second counts? These tips from Cobra-Defense, a real estate–focused security company founded by a former law enforcement officer, lay out every detail you should be aware of as you prepare to meet prospects and clients at showings. Read more.

Let’s All Open Doors for REALTOR® Safety

What if brokers made their reception space available to any agent from any company to meet new clients and verify their identities? Sam DeBord, managing broker of Seattle Homes Group and Coldwell Banker Danforth in Seattle, proposed such a bright idea earlier this year. Then he took it another step further. Just how far should the industry go to promote REALTOR® Safety? Read more.

—REALTOR® Magazine