Law & Order could easily fill a season of episodes using "stories ripped from the headlines" about crimes against REALTORS and real estate agents. In fact, being a real estate agent means you have signed up for one of the most dangerous careers in the private sector.
According to one resource dedicated to preventing workplace violence:
In 2006, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more than 1 out of 10 real estate brokerages nationwide had contractors who had experienced workplace violence.
Case studies from nakedlaw.avvo.com, an educational resource for non-lawyers about the law, portray the stark reality of what happens when you are not properly protected and informed as a REALTOR:
BRUTAL STABBING IN NORTH TEXAS MODEL HOME
In 2006,Sarah Anne Walker, a Coppell REALTOR, was stabbed to death 27 times in a model home she was showing in McKinney. Her attacker, also, beat her and left bite wounds, all of which indicate that Ms. Walker had tried to defend herself. Kosoul Chanthakoummane was sentenced to death for her murder. McKinney police believe that he may have been targeting other agents, as well.
71-YEAR OLD AGENT BEATEN AND STRANGLED TO DEATH DURING A SHOWING
Ann Nelson, a 71 year-old real estate agent, was murdered while showing a home to a prospective "buyer" in 2008. Her attacker beat her with a fireplace poker, strangled her, and robbed her. The scum who took her life was James Hole, a man with a criminal record. It is no surprise that he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
VICIOUS ATTACKS AGAINST 3 OHIO REALTORS AT SEPARATE SHOWINGS
Last year, some Ohio real estate agents temporarily suspended their business activities in the wake of 3 attacks, where 2 agents were murdered and 1 was mugged. One agent was found strangled and left to die in a burning home for sale. The next day, a second agent was shot to death in a vacant listing, and a third agent was robbed at gunpoint while showing an apartment rental.
FORECLOSED HOME SITE OF HEINOUS STABBING
Ricardo Contreras, a REALTOR with 25 years experience, was stabbed to death on the living room floor of a foreclosure in California.
COLD CASE... AGENT MURDERED IN LISTING
In 2008, 24 year-old real estate agent Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death while showing a listing to a couple. Investigators believe that this case involves contract killers. The motive remains a mystery, though Dateline NBC has generated some leads from viewers.
TWO AGENTS MURDERED IN BROKERAGE OFFICE ALL FOR THE WANT OF A TRUCK PAYMENT Cyndi Williams and Lori Brown, two Atlanta agents, were murdered by Stacy Humphrey in 2003 to get money for his truck payment. After fleeing the crime scene, he led officers on a chase from Georgia to Wisconsin. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by lethal injection.
FORMER CLIENT SHOOTS REALTOR IN THE FACE AT POINT BLANK RANGE
Here is a case that is bone-chilling because the agent KNEW his murderer. In 2008, Robert Johnson, a 73 year-old former client, shot his Michigan REALTOR, Troy VanderStelt, in the face during a premeditated attack at the victim's brokerage office because the real estate market bottomed out and Johnson's home was no longer worth what he had paid for it.
This list is NOT at all-exhaustive. You could spend HOURS on the internet reading about horrendous attack after attack against unarmed, insufficiently-trained real estate agents. Suffice to say, one source dedicated to REALTORS, linked here, not only details further violence against real estate agents nationwide, but also offers some common sense tips for staying alert. Sadly, most of these tips merely parrot what the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) endorses.
(Do you even know? As a Dallas-area REALTOR, you should!)
According to the Field Guide to REALTOR Safety, there are several common sense steps to heighten your awareness, as well as some great resources to help you increase your knowledge in this area (videos, webinars, and online safety courses).
Heightened awareness is crucial, and there isn't a sane, rational human being out there who would disagree with that comment. BUT, let's investigate how far short of fully protecting yourself NAR's recommendations are. One thoughtful and comprehensive resource on NAR's site is linked here. In a nutshell, these are some of the suggestions many local and the national REALTOR associations are making:
This list is not exhaustive.
NAR also has recommendations for office, road, and ATM safety for it's members, but you get the idea with the above suggestions...
Which is this... it is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to do EVERYTHING ON THIS LIST!
Besides THAT, who wants to hear the insinuation that an attack upon their person is because they might have let greed get the better of them?
You will also find a document on NAR's website about how escape is the best self-defense, yet another one telling you to go take some self-defense classes.
Interesting and confusing at the same time.
Is your eyebrow raised yet? It should be... and if it's not, consider this:
Do YOU THINK Sarah Anne Walker, who was stabbed to death 27 times, followed some of these suggestions, too, considering her autopsy revealed SHE FOUGHT BACK in her own SELF-DEFENSE?
Ms. Walker's is the most tragic, gut-wrenching case of all, and our most sincere heartfelt sympathies will forever be with her family and loved ones.
Here is the point:
According to your associations', as well as law enforcement's, recommendations are you to believe that every REALTOR cited in the above case studies brought about their own demise because they either didn't flee, didn't flee fast enough, tried to flee, didn't fight back, or fought back too much?
NONE of this makes any sense!
YOU NEED some SERIOUS TRAINING if YOU STAND A CHANCE against a PREDATOR! NAR and your local board of REALTORS in the Dallas-area are not going to give that kind of training to you, nor are they able to suggest it.
Clearly YOU are on YOUR OWN to make some of the HARD DECISIONS about your personal safety.
Nobody's family will be rejoicing over the thought that YOU put a business card in the kitchen cabinet while they are listening to a eulogy, because...
A BUSINESS CARD WON'T BRING YOU BACK! AT BEST, IT MIGHT PUT YOUR ATTACKER BEHIND BARS.
Let's get YOU trained in real-life tactical scenarios simulating showings and open houses, so you can be comfortable with yourself, your handgun, and able to take down any predator in a lethal-force attack!
Use the form below to request information on our handgun training course for real estate agents in Dallas and Fort Worth, TX.