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March 2015

REALTOR® President Issues Safety Report

"Fear Cannot Threaten Dream of Homeownership"

By NWREporter

March 2015

Most Realtors® feel safe on their jobs, even though 40 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information.

The vast majority of Realtors (96 percent) have never been the victim of crime, according to a new survey by the National Association of Realtors®, but many have felt threatened. Some of the most common circumstances that resulted in fearful situations were open houses, showing vacant and model homes, working with properties that were unlocked or unsecured and showing homes in remote areas.

The NAR survey asked members about their personal experiences and the safety precautions they take. Nearly half the women who responded (48 percent) said they had been in situations where they feared for their personal safety/information, yet only about one third (36 percent) had taken a self-defense class. One in five had participated in a REALTOR® safety class.

Among men, only one-fourth reported being in a situation where they feared for their safety. Compared to women, more men-43 percent-had taken a self-defense class, but fewer (12 percent) had participated in a REALTOR® safety class.

Many Realtor® associations, real estate brokerages and offices make safety resources available to agents. Eighteen percent of members have participated in safety courses provided by their Realtor® association, according to NAR research. Forty-six percent of respondents said their brokerage has standard procedures for agent safety in place, but the majority, at 54 percent, said their brokerage either had no safety measures in place or they were not aware of them.

NAR established the Realtor® Safety Program to empower and inform members of the potential risks they face in this profession and how to navigate them safely. Webinars, safety materials and tips are all made available through the program, with the entire month of September dedicated to bringing more awareness to Realtor® safety among members.

Asked about their use of self-defense weapons, men and women are equally likely to carry a weapon, but the type of weapon differs. Women prefer pepper spray by a 23%-to-4% ratio, while men favor a firearm (19% to 9%).

Despite being known for embracing technology, only 13 percent of respondents use a smart phone safety app to track their whereabouts and alert colleagues in case of an emergency. The most commonly listed apps included Life 360, iPhone Find my Phone feature, bSafe, Guardly and Google Family Locator.

Nearly 3,000 Realtors from across the U.S. participated in the survey, which was conducted at the request of 2015 NAR President Chris Polychron. The goal of the report was to measure and understand the scope of the problem so real estate professionals can develop resources, programs and technologies to keep themselves safe.

"Last year at my Inauguration, I pledged to make safety a cornerstone of my term as president. It was a priority borne out of tragedy," Polychron explained in a note accompanying the report.  (Editor's note: the tragedy he referenced was the murder of a fellow Arkansas Realtor®, Beverly Carter. A man and his estranged wife were arrested shortly after the attack. At a hearing in early December, both pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.)

In introducing the findings, Polychron told his colleagues, "I've spoken with you in your home states and your communities about how you do your work in the face of uncertainty or uneasiness. In every conversation I have, eventually we agree on one basic truth: We have to move forward."

The NAR president called the report a first step towards fulfilling his goal of "ensuring we are safer. Through us, families are pursuing the American dream of homeownership. That dream cannot - and will not - be threatened by fear."