The Arkansas man accused of abducting real estate agent Beverly Carter from a private showing last week and burying her body in a shallow grave pleaded not guilty Tuesday, hours after the woman’s body was found. It’s the latest gruesome tale in a tragic pattern that sees agents as easy targets – in 2013 alone, 25 homicides involving sales reps were recorded in the U.S.
In Canada, those statistics are much leaner, but all agents are being urged to employ safe practices so that they don’t fall victim to a crime of opportunity. Here are REP’s top five safety tips that can help make sure you aren’t an easy target.
1 – Bring a buddy
When asked why Carter was targeted, the alleged killer said: “Because she was just a woman that worked alone...” Having another agent with you will automatically reduce your chances of becoming a victim. Plus, that second agent can help you show the property to more than one prospective buyer at a time, essentially doubling your efficiency.
2 – Follow, don’t lead
Never walk ahead of potential buyers, since this presents the evil-intentioned with the opportunity to overpower you. Instead, direct the potential buyer when showing the property. Say, “The kitchen is to your left,” and enter the space after them. This also provides the potential buyer with the opportunity to take in the space as clearly as possible.
3 – Check in
If you’ll be showing the home alone, be sure to tell someone you trust the address of the property and check in with that person every half hour or so. If you miss a check in, that person will know to attempt to contact you.
4 – Escape routes
Search the property for escape routes. If you find yourself in a disturbing situation, can you leave the house through the back door? Is there a side entrance through which you can escape? During your search for and mental note of escape routes, you can also perfect your knowledge of the home’s details.
5 – Open curtains and windows
In addition to adding to the home’s natural light and fresh ambiance, opening the curtains and windows allows passersby to look in and detect any trouble.
The most recent kidnap and murder of a real estate agent during a showing is being taken as a lesson to sales reps throughout North America.