Put Your Safety First

Your family and friends don’t want you to become a statistic. Only you can take the steps necessary to ensure you don’t.

September 1, 2003

We don’t ever think it can happen to us. We feel terrible when we read news stories about innocent victims of a crime or see people on TV grieving for lost loved ones. We think we’re immune from such misfortune. Unfortunately, we’re not. Every year, men and women in our profession are robbed, raped, or murdered on the job.

I don’t want to see even one practitioner victimized while trying to earn a living in real estate. Although most of our activities as an association are aimed at helping you prosper, no measure of material success can equal the value of your life and well-being. That’s why we’ve instituted REALTOR® Safety Week, Sept. 14–20. During that week, state and local associations around the country will participate in an information blitz to spread the word about how to prevent crimes against real estate professionals. REALTOR® associations will be working together to raise awareness of the risks you face and the steps you can take throughout the year to minimize those risks.

Although we’re deeply committed to your safety, there’s only one person who can truly work proactively on your behalf—you. Crime victims often say they could have done something to prevent the crime but either didn’t follow their instinct or didn’t know how to respond. I urge you to heighten your own radar and that of your colleagues by conducting safety meetings, distributing safety tips (see “Protect your life ” on page 46), and ensuring your office has the proper safety policies in place.

REALTOR® Safety Week isn’t just about crime prevention. It’s a time to encourage and commit to broader personal safety practices as well. For example, since most of us spend a great deal of our workday in the car, we need to practice safe driving habits, including using a seatbelt and not talking on a cell phone while driving.

NAR has a great compendium of safety-related resources at its REALTOR® Safety Week Web page on REALTOR.org. For example, there’s a safety video you can use for training, a ready-to-go safety meeting from REALTOR® Magazine Online, and a link to the Web site of the Washington Association of REALTORS® Real Estate Safety Council, which has created 12 safety posters. The posters provide a great way to keep safety fresh in the minds of everyone in your office. To get to all those resources with just a few clicks, visit REALTOR.org/Safety.

I know it’s not pleasant to think about the dangers we confront as real estate professionals—touring vacant houses, meeting strangers, working odd hours. It would be easy to close this magazine and move right back into our daily “to-dos” without giving another thought to our personal safety. However, I urge you to take the time to review the REALTOR® Safety Week materials. Then focus on making safe choices and taking those extra steps that could save your life. Your family and friends don’t want you to become a statistic. Only you can take the steps necessary to ensure you don’t.

Cathy Whatley was 2003 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

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