US attacks drive local safety measures

The Professionals franchise group claims it is the first in Australia to track the whereabouts of estate agents in the field to provide an extra layer of security to agents as they go about their day.

Professionals staff don’t have their daily activities tracked, rather the location system only works when staff activate the smartphone app or press a panic button that alerts head office immediately.

Professionals Australia east coast general manager Alastair Lias said they feel they have a duty of care to field staff who can be on the road for days at a time to ensure they feel safe and secure while conducting business.

Mr Lias said the StaySafe app they use is one of those things saved for a "just in case" moment.

“Our members also look for ways to address safety issues in regards to their staff, so we feel that it’s vital we lead by example,” Mr Lias said.

“It’s a key area of real estate business that is often overlooked, or safety measures aren’t followed or implemented to their full capacity because they are too cumbersome…. An app is a quick and easy way of providing staff with an extra layer of security.

“It’s not about being Big Brother at all, it’s about recognising, mitigating and controlling risks and providing safe systems for all our agents and staff.”

Mr Lias said the idea to include the app on agent smartphones occurred because attacks on vulnerable staff in the field are "all too common" in real estate.

Attacks in the US on unsuspecting real estate agents are becoming all too common, he said. Last month a US-based agent was chocked and punched by a random stranger while she was securing the lockbox on a home.

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