1. Unless you have sought out formal self-defense training you will have no way of knowing how to defend yourself. Realizing that you lack in personal safety knowledge is a critical first step.
2. Understanding what you look like to a criminal is paramount. Real estate agents are the ultimate soft target (easy opportunity). You can be called by anyone, at any time and requested to meet in person, generally alone and in an empty property. They know what you look like already and thanks to social media they can quickly find out a great deal about you in advance. Do you look wealthy, weak or wear a lot of jewelry? This gives a criminal a chance to profile you for added value.
3. Every real estate agent should avoid thinking they will call 911 or download a safety app on their smart phone. No matter what you do, you will have to physically deal with an attacker for 5 to 15 minutes while the police are dispatched. This is assuming you have accomplished the incredibly difficult task of call 911 under the stress of a life threatening attack. We have tested the action of calling 911 under stress and it takes an average of 50 feet to get the phone out and to hit three buttons.
4. Real Estate agents who work alone and meet strangers everyday should employ smoke and mirrors with potential clients you feel uneasy about. What does that mean? Let’s say you are called to a property, it’s late in the evening, you’re alone and it’s empty. Let the prospect know when you and “your partner” will arrive. Perception is reality and if this was a criminal you’ve just put them on notice that you’re not alone. In a criminals world this changes everything. Clearly the best option is to actually travel with a partner.
5. Make it a good practice to tell everyone that your boss or partner will be meeting you here any minute if you are unfortunately unable to travel with a partner. Whether it’s true or not it creates a valuable safety hurdle for you.
6. Always insist that your client walks in first, you should also arrive early to unlock the door. Always step aside and allow the client to go in first. Many people are attacked near doors in buildings and by cars because criminals know you will be pre-occupied with the lock. You will be fumbling with your keys and your head will be down, it gets even worse if you’re on the phone. If you walk in front of someone it’s easy for your would-be assailant to lock the door and proceed with the attack. This is common in active shooter situations, the gun man will often lock the door behind them before they start.
7. Ask your client to stand at the back of their own vehicle and with your smart phone take a picture of the client including their vehicle and license plate in the photo. Let them know its policy that you do this and that you must to send it to your boss/office so they know where you are at and who you are with. When sending the photo to your trusted contact be sure to keep your client in sight as to not distract yourself in the process. By taking this picture and sending it off you have told this person that everyone will without a doubt, know who you are with. If it’s a criminal with bad intention it almost guarantees that they will not get away with what they planned to do. They can find another victim that gives them a chance of getting away with it, you’re not the one. It is advised to alert the client of this policy prior to arrival at the property and mention the latest attack involving real estate agents. It’s also important to remember, good people will not mind you doing this as they have no premeditated intent (plan).
8. Every real-estate agent should be told that these self-defense myths DO NOT work well and that relying on them to keep you safe is extremely dangerous:
*Putting your keys between your fingers to fend of an attacker
*Carrying pepper spray for self-defense
*Kicking an attacker in the groin
*Carrying a gun or having a concealed weapons- permit
*Thinking moves you see in cage fights will work in real life
* Having 911 on speed dial
9. Every Real estate agent should learn anti-abduction techniques. The possibility of kid napping using the agents’ vehicle is not only viable but likely. Your car arrives at the location stocked full of useful property a criminal may need including transportation, credit cards and/or cash. If the criminal plans on transporting you to a different location our life saving anti-abduction techniques are second to none.
10. Finally, if you value you what you do and your own personal safety, seek out training immediately! We have already established that real estate agents are soft targets with little to no training in self-defense so why not get started as soon as possible. We are paying insurance on material items that depreciate every minute like a car, phone or an appliance so why not insure the most valuable asset. You are the most important person in the world, so get started.
Clearly there will be times where everything is obviously safe, in fact that will be most of the time, however each tip or piece of advice is just another tool for real estate agents . Always keep in mind that there are individuals who prey on others for a living , it’s all they know and what they constantly think about . It’s better to be insured and never have to use it than it is to need it and not have it. By that time it’s too late.