Real Estate Crime is on the Rise
Real estate crime is on the rise. More and more model houses and open houses, as well as buyers, fall victim to criminals. These criminals target the personal property of potential customers and the real estate agents themselves.
As a result, real estate professionals have started adopting precautionary measures to protect themselves and their clients. These measures consist of the following:
- The agents avoid taking clients to real estate sites after it gets dark.
- They make sure someone accompanies them. In extreme cases, they hire bodyguards – especially in bad neighborhoods.
- Some agents prepare escape routes in advance in case they are attacked.
- Others started to carry firearms
- Clients are obligated to register before they are taken to open houses.
How serious is the situation
In a survey conducted by researchers from the Department of Economics in UCLA which encompassed 2,000 real estate agents in California, it was found that 15 percent of them fell victim to a criminal act while they were at work. 60 percent said they were not feeling safe as they used to be.
It is clear that this situation must be stopped. The real estate industry is facing a huge threat. If agents stop showing open houses to customers who will be afraid to appear, it won’t be long till the industry suffers from a real crisis.
One of the ways to deal with this problem is an increased police involvement including routine patrols in areas where houses are sold.
Some real estate agencies in the East and West Coasts have lately hired special security companies which guard specific properties, especially those which attract many customers every day. But the problem arises when an agency is marketing plenty of assets. It is impossible to allocate security guards to all these locations. The cost will skyrocket.
It is the responsibility of local law enforcement agencies to secure the houses that are for sale and enable the agents to do their job while feeling safe. Real estate crime should be dealt with seriously.