You can protect yourself and thwart criminal behavior by thinking like Frank Yunk-Arnold of Coldwell Banker Brown REALTORS®. The O’Fallon, Ill., resident teaches a safety course for new members of the REALTOR® Association of Southwestern Illinois (RASI).
He suggests that agency offices set up procedures to protect everyone, such as developing code words that indicate threatening or dangerous situations. By using code words, for example, a REALTOR® showing a property to a potential customer can subtly let a colleague know he or she feels threatened without alarming the threatening person. The colleague can then contact law enforcement to request immediate assistance.
Here are five more ideas from Yunk-Arnold:
- Find out in advance if a property has a working land line. If you have to dial 911, it can be easier for emergency responders to locate you than when you use a cell phone.
- Arrive at open houses early and unlock all doors so you have alternate exits in an emergency.
- Park at a property so that you can’t be blocked from leaving by another vehicle.
- Use professional, business-like photography on your website to discourage stalking and unwanted attention.
- Put pepper spray on your key chain for self-defense in an emergency.
“Frank is a great asset to our association,” says RASI Chief Executive Officer Deb Treat Frazier. “His background enables him to share his experiences and teach our new members the right way to be safe as REALTORS®.”
Prior to his real estate career, Yunk-Arnold served in the U.S. Air Force for 23 years, including three years as a security police officer and 14 years as a Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC). Both experiences, he says, made him “situationally aware” of his environment and the people around him. As he developed ideas for the safety course, he consulted with friends in law enforcement. Also, he noted that a few years ago, a real estate professional in nearby Missouri was assaulted and murdered on the job.
“You can’t go through life assuming everyone has good intentions. If you’re with someone and something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut,” says Yunk-Arnold. “Don’t let your ambition to make another sale cause you to disregard your own safety.”
Use NAR resources, too
The National Association of REALTORS® provides a variety of great safety resources for you. For example, the NAR offers suggestions for: