Realtors attend personal safety course

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- About a dozen Charlottesville Realtors got a lesson in personal safety Wednesday morning at the Residence Inn, to help keep them safe on the job.

The National Association of REALTORS® published in its 2017 Member Safety Report that, "38 percent of respondents report they experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information."

"I'm walking into a house that I've never seen before with somebody I've never met before," said event organizer and Realtor Keith Smith. "There's some safety precautions that we're trying to teach real estate agents."

The Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, or CAAR, teamed up with the Charlottesville Police Department for a safety course.

Realtors often meet with strangers in empty homes, and it can be dangerous. The course is all about situational awareness and included a detailed Powerpoint presentation, a question and answer section, and a mini self-defense course.

"One of the hallmarks of safety is to have a plan when something goes wrong," said Brian O'Donnell with the Charlottesville Police Department. "I think a lot of people don't have one, they don't think about it until they're in a situation."

Besides a safety plan, some other tips are simply telling someone your location, download and use a tracking app on your phone, meet in public places first, and create barriers and boundaries between you and the subject.

This is the fifth year the safety course has been offered.

Registration fees from the safety course are being donated to the Shelter for Help in Emergency, a domestic violence shelter in Charlottesville.

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