App Deters Crime by Tracking Realtors in the Field
You can’t put a price on personal safety – but if you could, it would be free for Florida Realtors’ members. SafeShowings, a phone app and member benefit, discourages problems because it logs client photos and automatically calls for help if you don’t respond within 45 minutes.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Criminals rely on anonymity, and the overriding benefit of SafeShowings, a real estate phone app, is psychological as much as logistical.
SafeShowings has agents take a photo of customers before traveling to non-public places, such as a home showing. Should anyone have crime in mind, they know their photo has been logged. This feature alone will deter most crime, since perpetrators know they’ll likely get caught.
However, SafeShowings also has a preset system that calls for help, even if an agent can’t access their phone. The app’s 45-minute default – it can be adjusted based on agent preferences – calls an agent’s emergency contacts once that time has passed.
Florida Realtors’ member benefit
“Florida Realtors is providing the app free of charge to all its members,” says Florida Realtors President Cheryl Lambert. “This app could save your life.”
According to Lambert, 38% of the nation’s 1.3 million agents have felt unsafe at some point in their real estate careers – over half a million Realtors.
“SafeShowings mobile app was developed by South Carolina Realtor Helen Hudson after a situation that made her fear for her personal safety,” says Lambert. “The smart, simple-to-use app lets you record the buyer’s name, automatically capture exact GPS addresses, and prompts you to take a photo of each potential buyer – a feature unique to SafeShowings.”
Florida Realtors CEO Margy Grant calls the photo tool “the certainty of being caught,” noting that it’s a more powerful deterrent than punishment for a crime.
Florida Realtors developed a video about SafeShowings, which is now available on floridarealtors.org.
How SafeShowings works
Agents take a picture of a client. To avoid problems with photos, SafeShowings suggests saying that a third party requires it, such as the sellers or that it’s your broker’s policy.
When getting out of the car, agents press a button saying a showing has started. When back in the car, they press a button saying the showing has ended.
The default time for a showing is 45 minutes but that can be personalized. In any case, a list of emergency contacts the agent listed within the app will be contacted if the time has passed and the “end showing” button has not been tapped. All emergency contacts will receive the exact location and time, and they can give authorities a secure image of the customer’s face.
Lambert says the app doesn’t just protect Realtors – it also protects homeowners.
Possible criminals have “seen where the homeowner’s security system is, where the children’s bedrooms are, and maybe even where valuables are stored,” she says. “If they return later to commit a crime, the SafeShowings App ensures that you’ve got a current photo of everyone who’s looked at the property.”
The app is available through the Apple Store and Google Play. To register and get started, visit safeshowings.com/floridarealtors.
© 2021 Florida Realtors®