September is REALTOR® Safety Month, and data from the National Association of REALTORS®’ recently released 2017 Member Safety Report shows that 38 percent of members have experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or the safety of their personal information. Common situations that caused fear included open houses, vacant and model homes, properties that were unlocked or unsecured, and properties in remote areas.
Of the 3,277 survey respondents, 44 percent of women compared to 25 percent of men said they’ve experienced concern for their own safety. When it comes to location, 40 percent of real estate professionals in suburban areas said they’ve been in a situation that caused them fear, followed by 39 percent of practitioners in urban areas and 35 percent in rural areas.
However, safety incidents are relatively rare, with 95 percent of respondents saying they have not been a victim of a crime while on the job. About 44 percent of respondents said their real estate offices have standard procedures for agent safety, and 66 percent have a procedure for safeguarding and disposing of client data.
Many are also being personally proactive in regard to safety, with 39 percent of members stating they’ve participated in self-defense classes and 20 percent having taken a REALTOR® safety course. Some are arming themselves—57 percent of women and 52 percent of men carry self-defense weapons. For women, the most common is pepper spray at 27 percent, followed by a firearm at 12 percent. For men, 25 percent of respondents say they carry a firearm and 11 percent carry a pocket knife.
Additionally, 44 percent of members said they use a smartphone safety app to track their whereabouts and alert colleagues in case of an emergency, including the Find My iPhone feature, GPS Phone Track for Android, Life 360, and HomeSnap Pro.