Recently a realtor in the Bay Area of Northern California was raped and almost murdered. She had received several calls from a “prospective buyer” making appointments to see a particular house. Each time he cancelled the appointment with a plausible excuse. The fourth time he called he told the realtor he was in the neighborhood and requested her to meet him at the house. She arrived before the “buyer” and when the “buyer” entered the residence he immediately grabbed the realtor by the throat and began choking her. She struggled with him and he stopped choking her and proceeded to rape her. After raping her he again started to choke her. She managed to remove his hands from her throat and began talking to him.
She gained his confidence and learned he had recently been released from prison and could not find a job. She told him she could find him a job and he allowed her to call someone to talk about a possible job opening. He then left and a couple of days later he called the realtor about the job. She set up an appointment for him which he kept, as did the police. He was arrested and hopefully will be returned to prison where he belongs.
This realtor is very lucky to be alive. It is very rare that someone intent on killing you can be talked out of it. Most of the time it ends in tragedy for the victim as in the recent murder of a real estate agent in Texas by a parolee.
Real estate agents are particularly vulnerable to attack by predators. When interrogated by the police the suspect in the Bay Area rape was asked why he picked a real estate agent to attack. He said a fellow inmate had told him that agents have cars, money and are alone in a house, making them easy pickin’s.
There are several things agents can do to protect themselves:
* Have a prospective buyer meet you in your office, NOT AT THE PROPERTY, preferably with co-workers present and NOT near closing time. Obtain identification from the buyer in the form of a drivers license and their vehicle license number. Leave this information with a responsible person in your office and advise them where you are going.
* If possible, have someone go with you to the showing and have them wait in the car with a cell phone. The best scenario is to go to the showing in two different cars, but if this is not possible, try to be the driver. This will give you somewhat of an advantage.
* Always have the person enter the residence or rooms in front of you. Never put your back to the person or allow yourself to be cornered.
* Have area police phone number on speed dial on your cell phone.
* DO NOT be lulled into a false sense of security by a female “buyer”. There are more and more cases of women being used to set up robberies and even rape.
* Always follow your gut feelings. If something doesn’t feel right, pass on it.
* When alone in your office at night be sure the doors are locked, preferably with deadbolts, have the blinds drawn and DO NOT open the door to anyone you do not know well enough to trust.
* One very important thing is to have your mind conditioned and ready to react in case of emergency. Think about all the vulnerable positions you may find yourself in and think about what you would do if someone tried to attack you. Play the scenario over and over in your mind so that if it were to ever occur you would react automatically and quickly and not freeze or panic.
* Carry a self defense product with you, have it ready, and know how to use it without hesitation.
At the very least every realtor should carry pepper spray. A pepper spray pen could be carried very inconspicuously and would be at the ready should the need arise. The use of this product should allow the realtor to escape from the predator without confrontation. In case the attacker gets within close range maybe a C2 Taser stun gun/taser would be a good choice. The Pretender 950,000 volt cell phone stun gun looks like a camera cell phone but can temporarily disable the attacker giving the realtor time to escape and summon the police.
The key to not becoming a victim is awareness of your situation at all times, being mentally and physically prepared to protect yourself, and having the element of surprise on your side with a self defense product. Just pretend you are a gazelle at the watering hole, constantly looking around for the ever present predator.