Safety awareness for REALTORS® has been the buzz the past couple of months with our local Women's Council so this blog hit home with me and I wanted to share it with you. Ashley was my age and just doing her job at the time of her murder. Please make sure to be safe while you are showing homes and conducting open houses. There are measures you can take to help stay out of harm's way.
Two weeks ago our hearts broke as news came that Ashley Okland, a beautifully spirited Iowa Realtor®, was murdered while she was showing a model townhouse. As many of you are aware Ashley was a very active member of her community, who was not only successful with her Real Estate work, but also a kind hearted woman who volunteered her time with charities.
Ashley’s murder touches a soft spot within all of us, not only was she at the young age of 27, but she was only trying to earn an honest living while she was murdered. Worse of all, although there are no definite leads to the murder case, many news sources are reporting that police may be speculating that the murder was committed by a fellow Real Estate Agent.
We would like to share, and ask that you share via Twitter or Facebook, that police are asking anyone with information about the shooting to contact the local police department, West Des Moines Police Department, at 515-222-3344 or Crime Stoppers at 515-223-1400.
Remembering Our Role As Real Estate Agents
Ashley’s murder is a tragic reminder that as Real Estate Professionals, we are exposing ourselves to dangerous situations on a regular basis. Although there we will never be able to completely ensure that we are never exposed to criminals, we can surely reduce the likelihood of this occurring. Below are a few safety tips that we urge all of you to share with your Real Estate colleagues.
- Carry a Safety Device With You At All Times
Sometimes safety precautions alone are not enough to protect us from possible crimes. We also need to be prepared to defend ourselves. As our Real Estate Safety Survey revealed, we each have our own comfort levels when it comes to choosing the right self-defense tools:
88% carry a phone
15% carry mace or pepper spray
9% take a dog to work with them
9% carry a baton
9% carry a gun
16% carry nothing.
Our suggestion would be to mix and match your self-defense tools and make sure you are always comfortable using them.Please note that prior to using any self-defense tool, make sure you quickly review the situation and see whether it is safer to just run away instead of fight the criminal.
- Read As Many Safety Tips As Possible
The key to defending yourself against a criminal is to always be alert and prepared. Having a few safety tips that we can automatically default to in an emergency can save us precious time and help us escape a possible attack. We realize that safety tips are not the most exciting articles to read, but when it comes to our safety we need to ensure we are doing everything possible. Be sure to check out NAR’s Safety Page and Moby’s Safety Blog.
- Pledge A Safer Work Ethic
Just like we pledge a healthier lifestyle to ensure we are in top shape, we urge our fellow ActiveRainers to take an active step to drastically changing how you practice your safety.We cannot passively think about safety anymore, we need ensure that every time we are out showing a property or hosting an open house we are as safe as we can possibly be. To ensure you stick through with this, share your pledge with a colleague or a family member so you can be accountable if you feel like ‘skipping on a safety precaution’ because of a time crunch.
- Hold A Safety Meeting At Your Office As Soon As Possible
Holding a safety meeting will not only ensure that you and your colleagues are up to date on the latest safety tips, self-defense moves, but that you are also all committing to a safer work ethic. Holding a safety meeting will reinforce the idea that we are all in this together and we need to watch out for each others’ safety. Moby has created a Safety Seminar complete with facilitator notes, for anyone who would like to jumpstart the safety meeting. Please e-mail us with your request and we will send you a PowerPoint copy.
We would also suggest you look into attending a professional Real Estate safety seminar, such as Realtor® safety guru Andrew Wooten’s national seminars.
Please share your thoughts on how to create a safety movement in the comment section below. We are really hoping to create a momentum where we show everyone that we will not stand idle when it comes to the safety of all real estate professionals.
Take care and be safe everyone!
The Moby Team