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This article was published on: 09/01/2004

POINT OF VIEW: Editor’s Note

Let’s be careful

Charlotte Fimiano of Bethlehem, Pa. Maria Garcia of Brentwood, N.Y. Michael Emert of Bellevue, Wash. Joan Wood Weigelhofer of Goochland, Va.

All real estate practitioners. All killed on the job between 1997 and 2003. Such incidents, although rare, point up the inherent risks of working in real estate. A May 2003 survey of REALTORS®, conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, showed that more than half of respondents had experienced safety concerns or harassing situations in their work, and 40 percent knew of other practitioners who had.

Those numbers are behind the National Association of REALTORS®’ decision last year to institute an annual safety reminder. The association designates one week each September as REALTOR® Safety Week. This year it’s Sept. 12–18, a good time to bone up on the precautions you and your coworkers should consistently take, regardless of whether you feel an imminent threat to your safety.

The association has compiled loads of valuable information on the topic. I urge you to spend time reviewing the information at and follow such tips as:

  • Conduct open houses in pairs.
  • Always let someone else know of your whereabouts.
  • Have an emergency plan in place to notify your office if you’re in an uncomfortable situation.
  • Use caution when driving or showing homes to strangers.

When you write for a magazine, you’re always looking for a news hook—some timely event that will make your story more relevant to your readers. If there’s one time I don’t relish finding such a hook, however, it’s when I’m writing about safety.

Unfortunately, the hook always seems to present itself. Last year around this time, Joan Weigelhofer was killed while working alone in the brokerage she owned. Her daughter Sonya Alberts, also a practitioner, gave us the sad news. The most recent tragedy was the killing of Julia (Deede) Keller of El Segundo, Calif., in July.

Of course, it’s important to recognize the difference between looking out for your personal safety and living in fear. I’m not suggesting that you place limits on your activities, which would be blowing the threat out of proportion, but that you use common sense when dealing with the public. In the words of “Hill Street Blues” character Sgt. Phil Esterhaus, “Let’s be careful out there.”

—Editor Stacey Moncrieff


REALTOR® Magazine Online Prepackaged Sales Meeting on Safety

Personal Safety: To Meet or not to Meet?, REALTOR® Magazine Online, Sept. 2003

Protect Your Life, REALTOR® Magazine, September 2003

NAR Library’s Field Guide to REALTOR® Safety

Real Estate Safety Council

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