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Realtor Safety: Anatomy of a Crime

September 10 2015

This month, we're publishing content from a course on Realtor Safety. This is the third in a series of articles that teaches Realtors how to prevent being a victim of crime. Read the previous article here.Read the previous article here.

security scary shadowed faceHaving an understanding of the processes that are common to many crimes is essential to being able to take the guidelines and suggestions in this series and apply them to your own particular needs and each unique situation in which you may find yourself.

All crimes have a beginning. In the case of premeditated crimes, that beginning is long before you are contacted.

Power Motive Timeline

1. Initial focus - The crime begins when the predator first notices you.

2. Focusing behavior - Predator is seeking you out, typically online.

3. Fantasy - Predator begins to fantasize about you. Fantasies may be something as innocent and simple as a chance meeting or take on more complex and possibly even darker forms.

4. Research - Predator will engage in stalking behaviors, likely online, possibly in public. These stalking behaviors will often feel intoxicating to the predator and provide a "high."

5. Plan the meeting - At some point, the fantasy and stalking no longer provide the "high," and the predator will plan a meeting. It is at this point that they will decide on a location.

6. Execute the plan - The first step in executing the plan will be to arrange the meeting by calling and asking you to show him/her a home. This will likely be your first opportunity to assess the risk of the prospect.

7. Meeting - The predator will meet you at the prescribed location. It is possible that he/she will "no show," depending upon their state of mind and/or comfort level with their urges.

8. Stage setting - During the showing, the predator will seek to isolate you where you cannot be seen or heard by others. He/she may ask you to look at something in the closet or bathroom, to show them the basement, the garage if the door is closed, or to close the blinds because they want to see how much light the fixture throws off, etc.

9. Offend - When the stage is set the way he/she wants it and you are isolated, the attack will come.

Profit Motive Timeline

Although less complicated and most certainly less emotional, crimes with a profit motive still involve a specific process.

1. The Need Decision - The predator arrives at the decision that he or she has financial need.

2. Target Selection - The target may be you or the property, depending on the predator's preference as to primary target. If you are the primary target, it is possible that you were chosen at random. However, it is more likely that the predator has chosen you specifically because he/she feels you will be carrying cash and/or expensive jewelry. If the property is the primary target, more than likely you are merely a catalyst chosen at random.

3. Planning - Depending on the severity of the crime, there may be very little planning, such as in a simple robbery of items on your person or easily hidden items from the home; or complex planning, in the event of a more severe crime such as kidnapping for ransom, a whole house burglary, or a theft involving an immovable locked safe.

4. Execution - Just as with planning, the execution may be simple and take relatively little time and resources or it may be complicated and require substantial time and resources. It's at this stage when the initial call will occur, and you will have your first opportunity to assess the prospect. If the predator is there to steal easily concealable items from the home, he/she will attempt to separate from you. A common ploy would be to pose as a husband and wife; one keeps you busy while the other goes through the house.

Read the next article in this series now: Reducing the Risk of Being Targeted

Read More Articles in this Series

September is Realtor® Safety Month. Throughout the month, RE Technology will be publishing excerpts from an educational course on Realtor Safety in partnership with safety app creator Real Safe Agent. Here's the list of articles that have been published to date:

Please consider sharing this important information with your colleagues, your agents (brokers), and membership (MLSs and associations)!