Approximately 67% of Realtors have adopted safety apps to monitor their locations and alert colleagues in case of emergencies, as reported by the National Association of Realtors. This precautionary measure is driven by the inherent risks of their profession, where real estate agents frequently find themselves in vacant properties with unfamiliar clients, chauffeuring strangers, and hosting open houses that attract individuals from various backgrounds.
In its Safety Residential Report, the National Association of Realtors disclosed that more than 300,000 Realtors in the United States, accounting for roughly 73% of its membership, expressed concerns about their safety within the past year. Within this group, 75,000 Realtors reported experiencing criminal incidents in 2023, with 7% of these crimes transpiring during open houses or property showings. Additionally, 30% of these victims revealed that the criminal activity followed intimidating emails, text messages, or phone calls.
The study further disclosed that 55% of surveyed Realtors carry self-defense tools, while 67% rely on safety apps to ensure their well-being and to communicate with peers during emergencies.
The real estate industry is taking safety so seriously that the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, has declared September as Realtor Safety Month to heighten safety awareness.
Jim Hamilton, President of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors, emphasized the importance of safety: “We want everyone to be safe. Many dangerous situations arise due to a lack of attention to one’s surroundings. Educating individuals about essential safety practices can increase awareness of potential risks and, ultimately, save lives.”
Geoff Fahringer, a Realtor, safety instructor, and former law enforcement officer, conducted a safety webinar for the National Association’s 1.3 million members, emphasizing the significance of situational awareness. He clarified that situational awareness is not about paranoia but rather about being conscious of one’s environment and having a plan in case of unforeseen emergencies.
Fahringer shared strategies to enhance situational awareness, as well as effective safety techniques applicable to real estate agents, coworkers, or family members:
- Project Confidence: Carry yourself with confidence, keep your head up, stay attentive, and ensure your hands are free.
- Establish Safety Plans: Develop safe words to protect against scams or threats. These words signal danger and prompt family or colleagues to take action discreetly.
- Mental Rehearsal: Visualize responses to different threatening scenarios in various locations, ensuring you know what to do if confronted with danger.
- Take Control: Prioritize your safety. If a situation feels unsafe or uncomfortable, take control by leaving the area.
- Be Alert: Pay attention to your surroundings, identify potential hazards, and stay vigilant when in parking lots, garages, gas stations, restaurants, or malls. Avoid distractions like texting or phone calls while walking.
- OODA Loop Approach: Follow the Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (OODA) Loop approach to respond swiftly to threats. This includes recognizing threats, moving away, seeking assistance, and making noise if necessary.
- Educate Yourself: Seek additional personal protection resources and safety tips.
The Silicon Valley Association of Realtors represents 5,000 Realtors and affiliated members engaged in real estate in the Peninsula and South Bay regions. Their mission includes promoting ethical real estate practices, advocating for homeownership, and safeguarding the interests of property owners in Silicon Valley. The term “Realtor” identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and adheres to its strict Code of Ethics.