Real estate agents on alert - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Real estate agents on alert

Real estate agents are being warned to take all precautions to protect themselves. Common sense is a priority, according to Kathy Whitfield with the Mississippi Realtors Association. Source: WLBT Real estate agents are being warned to take all precautions to protect themselves. Common sense is a priority, according to Kathy Whitfield with the Mississippi Realtors Association. Source: WLBT
"Who else goes out on their own to meet strangers at a vacant house? We are just asking realtors and we are asking consumers to understand that is not what we need to be doing anymore."  Source: WLBT "Who else goes out on their own to meet strangers at a vacant house? We are just asking realtors and we are asking consumers to understand that is not what we need to be doing anymore." Source: WLBT
Some agents are frightened to the point of self defense courses and taking up arms.   Source: WLBT Some agents are frightened to the point of self defense courses and taking up arms. Source: WLBT
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The murder of a real estate agent in neighboring Arkansas is raising concerns about safety among the real estate community here in the Magnolia State. 

The 49-year-old grandmother vanished last Thursday after she went to show a house. Monday, police arrested 33-year-old Aaron Lewis. He's charged with capital murder, kidnapping and robbery, and is being held without bond.

Realtors recognize this tragic case is a reminder of just how risky their business can be and how vulnerable they are.

Real estate agents are being warned to take all precautions to protect themselves. Common sense is a priority, according to Kathy Whitfield with the Mississippi Realtors Association.

Some agents are frightened to the point of self defense courses and taking up arms.

"I'm finding that agents are asking, should I arm myself should I have mace a stun gun, or even alarms," said Whitfield. "Some of them are making the choice to carry firearms."

Whitfield was a real estate agent for 20 years and now teaches safety courses. Realtor associations are warning, personal safety doesn't start at the front door of a home for sale, it should begin at the office.

"The age that we live in with Internet, availability of information, virtual tours of homes, they know that the properties are possibility vacant," said Whitfield. "Who else goes out on their own to meet strangers at a vacant house? We are just asking realtors and we are asking consumers to understand that is not what we need to be doing anymore."

The accused killer in the case of Beverly Carter told her he was interested in buying a home. After his court appearance in Arkansas he was asked why Beverly Carter? Aaron Lewis said because she was a just a woman that worked alone; she was targeted because she was a rich broker.

"We are very disturbed and very alarmed and we are in the process of ramping up what we already thought was a good safety training program," added Whitfield. "It's fixing to really become, we are going to ramp it up to the point of every agent out there can be a part of what we are doing."

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