I have been asked to present for multiple real estate companies in the last year. I always want to know my audience ahead of time so I researched their industry specifically with regard to safety and crime rates. Well, “unbelievable!” and “shocking!” are the two words that first come to mind after doing my homework.
On September 30th, 2014, Beverly Carter, a real estate agent who was 49 years old was found dead in a shallow grave in Arkansas. Her killer was a 33 year old multiple felon that was supposed to be on parole until 2017. His explanation of why he killed her: “Because she was just a woman that worked alone, a rich broker.”
The list of male and female real estate agents that have been murdered is seemingly endless on the Internet. Violence is quite a problem in their field. The real estate and rental and leasing occupation has seen an average of 75 deaths a year from 2003 to 2009, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics which is referenced in this ABC News story.
I have multiple theories as to why real estate agents are such a target for criminals. The first problem is that real estate agents make a living meeting a complete stranger in an empty home. Another is that agents use social media to leave a Web trail on places like Facebook and Twitter and announce open houses so others can find them anywhere. The third problem is that they advertise with a picture of themselves looking their best. Apparently, it’s not uncommon for prison inmates to collect pictures of attractive realtors from their advertisements and keep them. Speaking of prison, this is like a University for prisoners to get quite the education on how to better commit crimes when they get out.
So I kept digging into finding safety related information for this profession and I did stumble upon an entire Realtor Safety Presentation. What did I think of it? It was warm milk at best because although it focuses on useful advice like having a “charged cell phone” in case you need to call the police, in the event of an attack (over in seconds, remember) advice that could kill you if it’s your only plan!
Another site had a blog post a month after Beverly Carter was found dead. The blog listed seven safety tips, which I’ll review for you:
1) The Come Into The Office or CITO Rule. It is a great idea to meet the person at a safe location with others around and get a photo ID and credit card to verify the person. Make sure you know how to tell a fake ID from a real ID though.
2) Trust Your Intuition. This is an excellent tip and I teach about trusting your gut in every class. When it comes to danger, intuition is always right in two important ways: First, it is always in response to something you should pay attention to and secondly, your intuition ALWAYS guides you toward what’s in your best interest. Unlike worry, intuition will not waste your time. Learning to “trust your gut” and not doubting it will be your top safety skill. If you feel uneasy about someone then you do not need to show the property. There are stories of realtors who judged someone against their gut instinct and paid a high price for the mistake.
3) Establish the “Buddy System”. The idea here is that you tell someone where you are going to be and you can contact him or her if you feel threatened. This is not sound advice because when encounters are over in seconds or a couple of minutes and the average response to a 911 call is 10-15 minutes then that’s too long. I DO however think that a “Buddy System” where having another person with you is a great idea.
4) Get Safety Education. This is excellent if it is “real world” education that can teach you to protect your own life. Learn to watch body language and know when someone is about to attack. Remember, humans are animals and they show signs before an attack. Staring for long periods of time without blinking at you is one sign that we all can see right away and clenching/unclenching fists and their jaw right before an attack is common.
By the way, you will have the hair on the back of your neck standing up and you will feel in your gut that you are in danger. Humans all have energy fields and that’s why we can pick up on someone’s good or bad energy. Learn different ways to fight back! Most criminals do not want to attack a fighter; they want a weak and submissive target. DON’T be weak and submissive when something as simple as taking a class can change your mindset and give you skills to avoid an attack altogether. Also, learn how to fight if you need to protect yourself.
5) Review Cyber Safety. Social media sites as well as public records and fee-based criminal records checks can provide useful information about the person ahead of time.
6) Use Technological Safety Measures. There are different Apps that have an alarm button to notify the police or your friends if you are in trouble. Once again, I’m not a fan of these and I have actually tried some and tested by calling the 911 dispatcher, asking if I could test my alarm, and then activating it. I waited ten minutes and guess what? I called dispactch back, and the emergency call didn’t go through! Our city was not set up for this type of App so check it out first of course if you have this plan. But think about it, if you were in trouble, and in immediate danger of an attack, why wouldn’t the assailant just throw your phone down and commit the crime? They know they have minutes to get away with it. As I mentioned, “when seconds count, help is minutes away”. If you still think you’re going to maintain the cloak of denial by thinking your phone will save you, try turning it on, unlocking, finding the phone app and dialing 911 while someone is attacking you. Good luck.
7) Professionalism Ensures a Safer Working Environment. I am going to directly quote this advice here from eLend, “Realtors who present themselves in a polished and professional manner will be less likely to attract the wrong kind of attention. That means dressing appropriately and being mindful of social media posts and questionable interactions with clients and future clients.” Oh my gosh (I try not to swear on my blog) I. am. now. going. to. come. unglued! Are you kidding me? Do they honestly think that if a woman dresses “in a polished and professional manner” it will dissuade someone from trying to attack them? I’m sure the predator is thinking, “A skirt and high heels means I don’t want to murder her.” Or “Jeans and a turtle neck? I might want to kill her.” (Feel the sarcasm?) The point I want to get across is that “dressing for success” is NOT an effective way to avoid being attacked.
Here’s the reasoning: It is impossible to take a decent ordinary man and turn them into a rapist or killer. The person who rapes, steals, or kills is a psychopath and they have no moral compass. They don’t think about yesterday or tomorrow acting impulsively on what they want at that moment. You need to understand the mind of a criminal and know that rape and murder is not about how beautiful or sexy someone is, but it is about control and taking what they want.
Want real training that focuses on avoiding the conflict, understanding the predator mindset, reading body language, and learning to fight like your life depends on it? Pretty Loaded has the answers so book us to speak or invest in our Online training. You will become empowered and change your life in the time it takes for you to watch a movie.
Protect your life, it’s the only one you have! It’s time to fight back and gain the confidence you need.
Beth is the founder of Pretty Loaded. On a mission to install strength, awareness, and confidence, Beth began her journey as an educator and National speaker after a close encounter with a would-be predator. She has trained thousands of people in person, and through her online training around the world. Her safety videos reach millions globally! Beth is an NRA Pistol Instructor and an NRA Personal Protection in the Home Instructor. She is responsible for starting National Situational Awareness Day and this was approved by the registrar of the National Day Calendar. Beth has been featured on Consumer Reports, Elite Readers, BuzzFeed, ViralNova, and many more networks. Beth loves spending her time reading, running, cooking, and painting. She is married and has four wonderful young girls, organic chickens, and lives on an organic produce farm and vineyard.