Real-estate agent attacked while showing South Bend home
SOUTH BEND — The Saint Joseph County Special Victims Unit is investigating an attack on a real estate agent in South Bend. They say it happened five days ago.
Police say there are no suspects right now, and the investigation is on-going. The President of the Elkhart County Board of Realtors says the agent was at a listing appointment when she was surprised by an attacker and raped.
It happened last Thursday afternoon at this home near North Olive and Bulla Streets.
Tom Canarecci, the president of the Elkhart County Board of Realtors, says when agents go out to show houses they’re in a compromising position. He says safety in their top priority.
“You worry about their well-being, and then honestly you’re angry. You’re upset that someone would perpetrate such a crime and you want to protect everyone,” said Canarecci.
Canarecci says there are some safety precautions agents can take to protect themselves. One of those is this app available for all smart phones called Real Agent Guard. It has a timer and sends out alerts so local enforcement can pinpoint your location.
He says agents should first try to set up a meeting at an office or another public place and not a vacant home.
“It gives you the opportunity to, number one, find out if they’re pre-approved, and number two, what exactly they’re looking for in a home so you can do a better job for them,” Canarecci said.
Canarecci says houses are selling quickly in this market, but realtors are doubling down on safety measures to try and prevent this from happening in the future.
“Respect an agent when they want to meet with you at the office. We know the market’s moving fast, and you want to get out and see homes as quickly as possible, but for consumer safety, as well as the agent’s safety it’s important that you get together and put the details together in the very beginning,” Canarecci said.
The Board of Realtors is meeting Thursday to talk about safety and potentially putting together a new task force. The board president says learning self-defense is a good idea for everyone.
On May 3, South Bend Police are hosting a free women’s self-defense night. Anyone interested should contact South Bend Police Capt. Boykins at 574-235-7532.