Hi team. I came across an interesting story the other day that tentatively ties back into our topic of perceptual blindness. Actually, in this case, it has more to do with being deliberately distracted by someone so that a crime can be committed; and it came from an unexpected source – other women!
Read the following:
“Last year I was holding an open house on my listing, and four women walked in and said they were sisters and looking for a home for their mother. Two of them walked out to the yard while I stayed with the others.
The two in the yard then called me outside because they had a few questions. When we walked back in, the gals stayed a little longer talking and asking more questions about the house.
It wasn’t until the next morning that I noticed my debit card and a few dollars missing. They managed to spend a few hundred dollars before I canceled the card. I found out later that these ladies had been making the rounds around Las Vegas doing the same to other agents while sitting on their open houses.
Needless to say, I now keep my wallet in the trunk of my car. It also helps to do open houses in twos, especially when the home is lived in and has things to steal. This economy is bringing out the worst in people.”
This speaks to a couple of things: There is always safety in numbers. When and where possible never be alone in a “private” setting where strangers can be added to the mix.
Second: Although this woman was not physically harmed, desperate times push people to perform desperate measures, and women will commit crimes against other women. This is still pretty rare, as far as crimes go, but taking into account you are a woman alone in a “private” location your awareness levels should be raised to High Yellow to begin with (part of the mental alert level color code system beginning at white, low yellow, high yellow, orange, red).
If I had of been alone in this setting and four men showed up with the same story, I would have used my cell phone to take their group picture, and held photo ID from all four while they browsed (and possibly taken pictures of licenses, too, if I’d picked up weird vibes). I wouldn’t necessarily have been asking for these things to be a pain in their ass. I would be doing it to observe their reactions to my request.
I want to know now, on my terms, whether these people are on the up-and-up.
These types of request form a barometer to their true intentions; multiple excuses, defensive tones and blatant refusals would all indicate somethings amiss.
Emailing the pictures immediately to your own office email means if the phone/camera is stolen during the commission of a crime, your evidence is still secure. Their failure to comply with these “Company Policies” would result in being barred from “viewing” the property. Better to be cautious and alive than take a chance….
One thing I would be very inclined to do, especially as a female realtor holding an open house alone, is call and notify the Law Enforcement precinct in the jurisdiction where the home is located to inform them you are a lone female holding an open house during so-and-so hours, and would they mind sending a cruiser around this area during the course of the day. They might not have the man power to do it at all, or they may only do it once or twice, but if they could arrange the drive by close to the end of the showing, the most likely time to be targeted for a crime, it would help lessen the chances. Police Officers would much rather help avert a crime than investigate one after the fact.
Especially if it means helping keep a woman safe.
At the very least it puts your Open House address on their radar and if someone gets a few minutes to cruise past it might just be the moment when the bad guys, or girls, are casing the joint waiting for it to be quiet enough to get away with their dastardly deeds…
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