Hey, fellas, you’re not immune to danger
When the National Association of REALTORS® debuted its “Real Estate Safety Matters” course for associations and brokerages, the newest addition to the REALTOR® Safety Program, at the 2015 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., there was an obvious underlying message for the men in the room: You’re just as susceptible to being attacked as a woman.
REALTOR® safety is a topic that has gained national attention after the murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter last September. Since then, a slew of other cases of brutality against practitioners have grabbed headlines, and in every instance, the victim was a woman. They’ve made the industry keenly aware of typical unsafe practices in the real estate business — working alone, meeting prospective clients at empty homes, revealing too much personal information in online bios — but they’ve also made it appear as though only women are vulnerable.
Tamara Suminski, GRI, ABR, a California REALTOR® who led NAR’s safety course, recalled posting to Facebook a recent news story about an attack on an agent. One commenter, a male colleague, wrote on her post: “Good thing I’m a big dude.”
“What does that mean?” Suminski said. “That you can’t be attacked?”
The truth is the mentality that women are more vulnerable to attacks than men is a fallacy. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, which has been recording yearly crime data since 1973, more men have historically been victims of every type of violent crime except rape than women. When it comes to the relationship between victim and assailant, men and women are equally as likely to be attacked by someone they know, according to the survey.
In NAR’s 2015 Member Safety Report, 25 percent of male REALTORS® said they’ve experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety. Forty-eight percent of female REALTORS® said the same. Fifty percent of all REALTORS® indicated they first met prospective clients they did not know at a real estate office or neutral location — which means the other half are meeting them in potentially more dangerous locations. That includes a lot of men who are potentially putting themselves in harm’s way.
All of this is to say that men are fooling themselves if they think they don’t need to worry about being a target for attacks as much as women do. REALTOR® safety isn’t just for women. Everyone, no matter their gender, should take heed of the risks involved in real estate and take precautions to improve their safety. Anyone who thinks they have nothing to worry about is making themselves easier to victimize than those who are better prepared for danger.
“We’re all prone to safety concerns,” Suminski said. And nothing could be more true.