It is with great sadness that we closed out the month of September with news on Beverly Carter, the Arkansas Realtor who went missing last week and whose body was found Tuesday morning. Beverly was on her way to meet a prospective buyer at a foreclosed property she was showing.
Prior to this horrendous incident, articles have been circulating and Brokers, Agents and Associations have been promoting safety awareness as September is REALTOR® Safety Month. As situations would have it, safety can not be emphasized enough. There is no doubt that you are aware of the potential risks that are involved in showing property and meeting with potential clients. The question is, what precautions do you take, if any, to handle an unsafe situation, should it arise, and what are you doing to keep yourself educated and abreast of potential hazards? Fortunately, great information is out there and easily accessible. A great place to start is with your state associations and National Association of REALTORS® (www.realtor.org). There are numerous and extremely informative safety brochures and pamphlets you can download and multiple webinars and videos covering everything from what an attacker looks for to common sense safety techniques. There are also several independent companies that specialize in Personal and Business Safety.
In addition, there are several GPS tracking apps available for your phone and/or tablet. The use of these apps make it possible for individuals that you have selected, to see and track your location at any given time. One app, STAY SAFE (www.staysafeapp.com) allows the user to set up the time duration that they will be somewhere and if they fail to check-in with their contact(s), an emergency text and/or email is sent out. Another app, Watch Over Me (www.watchoverme.com), is similar in its GPS tracking and emergency contact alerts, but goes one step further in allowing the user to video tape and voice record when the user triggers an SOS by simply shaking the phone.
Lastly, don’t ignore your own gut instinct when it comes to safety. Become best friends with the voice in your head that alerts you that “something doesn’t feel right” and don’t get “comfortable” with that “uncomfortable” feeling by trying to justify the situation. With information and resources at our fingertips, go forward into October educated and prepared.