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police_lights_safetyAn Iowa REALTOR® was recently the target of a phone call implying harm at an open house, again calling into question a practice that has long been subject for debate in the industry.

The male caller, who phoned a female agent with Keller Williams Realty Greater Des Moines on Sunday morning, threatened to enact a gang initiation involving the agent later that day. The caller, who was blocked, says the threat was the result of her business card being drawn from a hat, The Des Moines Register reports.

The agent immediately notified local police, as well as her broker, which cancelled all open houses for the day.

“We are not certain if the call was a prank or a real threat, yet we will always err on the side of caution in protecting our agents’ safety. No transaction is worth the agent’s safety,” Keller Williams Greater Des Moines CEO and Team Leader Brain Wentz tells RISMedia. “We have recommended our agents buddy-up with another agent so they are not alone in open houses.”

The incident calls to mind the case of Iowa agent Ashley Okland, who was killed at an open house in 2011, and that of Arkansas agent Beverly Carter, who was killed after meeting a potential buyer at a property last September.

“Agents sometimes let their safety precautions go down in times between situations like this,” Wentz continues. “These cases always remind us to be on guard and vigilant as brokers and agents.”

The message comes days before the start of REALTOR® Safety Month, which serves to bring awareness to dangers in the field.

As a REALTOR®, how do you stay safe? We invite you to share your thoughts in our brief survey here.