With the recent tragedy of Arkansas broker Beverly Carter still weighing heavily over the real estate community, a recent onslaught of mysterious, threatening phone calls made to several female Fall River, Massachusetts’ agents have continued to remind us that REALTOR® safety is an industry issue that needs ongoing attention.
After the tragic death of Carter, a broker with Crye-Leike, REALTORS®, the company has made REALTOR® safety a top priority, recently unveiling the Beverly Carter Safety Course, which all of their agents will be required to take before graduating from Crye-Leike College. Topics included in the course are: car parking with an escape route, surveying vacant property for suspicious activity before entering a home, and leaving office staff with details on your whereabouts. Additionally, the company no longer meets new clients at properties, but instead asks that they come into the office.
“Any approach to safety should be multi-layered,” says Crye-Leike’s Executive Vice President Steve A. Brown. “As we know, an app alone is not enough. Ms Carter’s phone was taken away immediately. NAR, firms, offices, and agents should disclose all of their plans in a major venue. Unfortunately, ‘bad guys’ are listening and watching and can use our publicized and well-intentioned strategies to create new plans which take these things in to account,” says Brown.
Other real estate companies nationwide are taking a different kind of safety precaution; In St. Charles, Mo., many agents are taking self-defense classes, a good idea for any professional whose job requires the meeting of strangers in unfamiliar settings.
The National Association of REALTORS® also has REALTOR® safety on the agenda for 2015.
“We’re going to try and make the REALTOR® and the consumer safer,” says NAR’s 2015 President Elect Chris Polychron.
Although September’s REALTOR® safety month has passed, the importance of REALTOR® safety has not, and we expect the dialogue to continue on into the new year, and beyond.