Realtors often work alone in unfamiliar spaces, at unusual hours and with customers they may not necessarily know.
Those circumstances often make their work risky, at best, and potentially dangerous.
September is Realtor Safety Month, so the Las Cruces Police Department is providing safety tips for realtors and those who work alone in places that may be frequented by unknown individuals.
- Use common sense when utilizing social media. Refrain from posting personal or identifiable information you would not want a stranger to know or see.
- Always carry your cellphone and keys in-hand, in a pocket, or in a body-worn purse or pack. Do not leave your cellphone or keys unattended, like on a countertop, where they are not immediately accessible and where they can easily be stolen. Your cellphone and keys may be needed immediately in an emergency.
- Park along the street, not on the driveway where someone can block your car and prevent your escape. This also provides better visibility if you need to activate your vehicle’s panic alarm using a key fob.
- Ensure you have cellphone service at the property or space you are showing.
- Avoid draining your cell phone battery if using the device for ambient noise or as a link for a Bluetooth speaker.
- Leave your purse and other valuables – including expensive jewelry and watches – at home or properly secured (in a trunk or out of sight) in a vehicle.
- Wear practical clothing and footwear that makes fleeing danger – if necessary – easier.
- If possible, do not show homes or spaces alone. Take a business partner, spouse or trusted friend when meeting with unknown individuals.
- Let a coworker or trusted friend know your schedule and where you will be. If you have not returned on time, they should check in and verify your safety.
- Be friendly, but not too personal. Avoid disclosing personal details such as work schedules, home addresses, client timelines, living arrangements, etc.
- Ensure that client’s personal and financial information is not easily attainable. Have clients secure keys, mail, bills, checkbooks, electronics, etc. before showing their property.
- Always stay aware and alert of your surroundings. Take note of each person who enters your environment.
- Consider taking photos of arriving guests and ask them to sign a guest book. A well-planned guest book, with names and contact information, can also be used for future marketing.
- Consider utilizing a portable surveillance camara system, such as a nanny-cam, that records arriving guests.
- Plan an escape route when showing a home or working in a solo office environment. Never get boxed into a room that you cannot safely escape, if needed.
- Avoid leading customers to areas with no point of egress such as closets, basements or upstairs. Let clients explore those spaces on their own.
- Keep distance between you and unknown individuals. Use a barrier (kitchen island) to create distance between you and unknown individuals and avoid being lured into an uncomfortable situation.
- Avoid distractions or loud music when working. Do not wear headphones or earbuds as they could limit your ability to hear danger approaching.
- A high-lumen flashlight can be used to light your way when it is dark and to help fend off an unwanted intruder.
- Carry a high-decibel personal safety alarm that can easily be activated. Remember, most vehicles also have a security system that can be activated from your key fob. Do not hesitate to sound the alarm if necessary.
- Set up an office distress code, a word or phrase, that can be used to signal an uncomfortable situation via text or voice.
- Do not call the office or a friend to report an emergency. Why not? Calling the office or friend first when police, fire or ambulance are needed will only delay the response from emergency services.
Report suspicious activity by calling (575) 526-0795 and immediately call 911 if it is an emergency.