We are very blessed to live in the great state of Arkansas. However, over the past decade we have seen an increase in crime regardless if you live in a city or small town. Unfortunately, this has also affected the Real Estate industry.
It is imperative REALTORS, buyers and sellers all take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft or physical injury to all. Many REALTORS, have risk-reduction training and are members of the Beverly Carter Safety Certified Office Program.

Before listing your home and having photos taken, remove valuables to a safe location. Items that are most at risk are jewelry, medications, electronic data, mail and firearms.
Often homeowners will keep these items in a very common location, such as keeping jewelry on the bedroom dresser or in the top drawer, medication (especially pain medications) are kept on the kitchen counter or in a cabinet near the kitchen sink and firearms are often in or under the night stand next to our bed.
The bad guys know this and are looking to grab and go. It's a good idea to have these items hidden, your PC shut down, and any mail hidden from view during showings.
REALTORS, do attempt to keep buyers together during a showing, however it's not always possible. When you return home after a showing, it's a good idea to make sure all doors and windows are locked. Speak to your REALTOR, about the pros and cons of only allowing pre-qualified buyer to show your home.

The Real Estate business is a high risk business, and, in fact, it is the eighth highest risk business according to the Department of Labor Statistics.
Many REALTORS and Brokerage Firms have safety protocols in place to protect themselves and their Buyers and Sellers. The Arkansas Realtors Association Safety Task Force has developed and encourages all REALTORS to take their Safety Pledge and become a Beverly Carter Safety Certified Office, which has resources for the safety benefit of REALTORS, buyers, sellers and the general public.

Please know that your first meeting with a REALTOR should be at the agent's office of a "Safe Harbor" location. It doesn't benefit anyone to run and look at a property without an initial meeting where you can share your home requirements, locations, price ranges and where you are at in the loan process (pre-approval).
This is a great time for your REALTOR to explain the home-buying process. Even if you are not a first time homebuyer, many things have changed in all aspects of the home-buying process.
As a part of the REALTORS safety protocol, you may be asked for a copy of your driver's license, pre-approval letter and client intake sheet.
Today, sellers and REALTORS want to know who is entering their homes and vehicles. Most agents will only show homes during daylight hours, especially vacant properties for both the buyers' and REALTORS' safety.
The items listed above are just a small sampling of the potential risks and precautions in today's world, so please be sure when you are discussing all the other aspects of marketing, selling and buying a home, that safety is an important part of that discussion.
Be Safe: Bill Tobias