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Real Estate Agent Murder Prompts Safety Pledge

By Mike Wheatley | November 5, 2014

The recent murder of Arkansas real estate agent Beverly Carter has prompted two Iowa brokers to call on other agents to join them in raising their safety protocols while conducting home showings and open houses.


Dylan de Bruin and Joe Schafbuch with Century 21 Signature Real Estate in Central Iowa have launched a pledge for real estate professionals to show their commitment to safety precautions. As of Tuesday morning, 723 agents, brokers, and the public have signed the pledge.

De Bruin writes in a letter outlining the pledge that he was inspired to make the call after the September death of Carter and the death of his former colleague and friend Ashley Okland, who was murdered while hosting an open house in West Des Moines, Iowa, in April 2011. A suspect has never been arrested in Okland's case. De Bruin says heightened calls for agent safety followed Okland's death in 2011, but "for all of this well-intentioned discussion, it would appear that nothing fundamental has changed in our marketplace to change our industry practices to better protect our agents."

The brokers' real estate safety pledge makes some of the following calls:

  • Never show a home under any circumstances to a stranger without first meeting them at the office or asking them to submit identification.
  • Educate clients that open houses are a safety concern both for the home owner and the agent.
  • Limit open houses as a marketing strategy and/or make prudent and safe decisions about open-house marketing efforts.
  • Use the buddy system whenever unsure or uneasy about a showing or meeting. Also, make yourself available to fellow agents as a "showing buddy."
Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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