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Agent Safety: Prevention vs. Reaction

wav prevention reactionRecently, a friend asked me to review some personal safety apps. Just to be clear, a personal safety app is an app that loads onto your smartphone and allows you to alert a handful of pre-defined people that you are in trouble. Additionally, some of these apps will also alert a call center that will then call the police. Finally, a variation on these concepts are wearable devices that do the same thing but are instead worn on your person.

The first thing we have to consider in reviewing any of these apps or devices is what "safety" is. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines safety as "the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss." So the question is not whether any of the several personal safety apps or wearables on the market do what they say they will do. I'm sure most of them do.

The real question we have to ask is will they keep you safe? In your position as a real estate agent, can personal safety apps and devices prevent you from undergoing hurt, injury, or loss? The answer is clearly no.

Personal safety apps and devices are not designed to keep you safe; they are designed to alert friends and family and/or the police that you are about to be, are currently, or just have been a victim of a crime. There are several problems with these products. First of all, if an attack is imminent, what are the odds that one of the people alerted are going to be close enough to prevent or stop the attack? Additionally, if a prospect is a threat, the existence of a "panic button" can actually escalate a situation and speed up an attack; and if the prospect is not a threat, the existence of a panic button can create an uncomfortable tension and interfere with the relationship building needed during the sales process.