Calgary father of woman murdered at open house has warning for Alberta real estate companies, realtors
Calgary police continue to investigate after they say a woman was sexually assaulted at an open house in southeast Calgary over the weekend.
On Saturday at around 2 p.m., a man grabbed a female realtor inside a home on McKenzie Drive S.E. and touched her sexually, police said. The woman moved away and convinced the man to leave but he came back two more times, officers said. Police searched the area but couldn’t find him.
Realtors say every time a female realtor shows a home by herself there is a certain amount of risk she takes on.
“There is a different safety factor and risk factor for women in this job, definitely,” said Emma May, owner of Charles Real Estate, on Sunday.
“You put yourself out to the public. You have your name and face all over the place, so you’re inviting people to a private residence where you happen to be hanging out by yourself all afternoon.”
Calgary real estate broker Jeff Buziak has been relentlessly searching for his daughter’s killer since Lindsay Buziak was stabbed to death in 2008. He is pressing for more safety measures for realtors.
“I get ill to my stomach because it instantly brings back memories for me of my wonderful daughter who was murdered showing a home in Victoria, B.C., as a realtor,” Buziak said on Sunday.
Buziak applauds a move by the Real Estate Council of Alberta to include a safety section as part of a course realtors must take, but he believes more should be done by local real estate boards and individual companies.
“They need to take it a little more seriously,” he said. “They need more hands-on training to avoid these sorts of incidents.”
WATCH: Jeff Buziak, a Calgary real estate broker and the father of a murdered daughter, shows Global reporter Carolyn Kury de Castillo the shocking ways in which women can find themselves in vulnerable situations.
Buziak said he’s looking at both the industry to make changes and the women, too.
“I hope all of the women realtors out there pay attention to this and seek out some advice,” he said. “Don’t just remember it for two days and then run off to make that quick dollar because someone says they want to buy a home. Their voice needs to be heard that we are vulnerable and we need to be looked after and they also need to look after themselves.”
Buziak demonstrated several precautions women can take, including keeping a piece of furniture between them and clients and never walking ahead of strangers inside the house.
“Don’t turn your back on your clients,” said Buziak, “If you turn around to exit the room, you are vulnerable right now.”
WATCH: Growing calls for industry changes after Calgary realtor reports being sexually assaulted
May advises her female agents to have someone with them when showing a house.
“Real buyers and people who really want to do business with you are not going to be put off by you putting safety measures in place to protect yourself. So your safety is paramount and it comes before any potential deal or transaction,” May said.
“As a woman, I come at it from a totally different perspective than a lot of my male co-owners. Protect yourself. Team up. Do an open house with a friend or another associate. If you need to, ask your client if it’s OK if you can bring your partner or a friend with you to the open house.”
Alan Tennant, CEO of the Calgary Real Estate Board, said in a statement that “this is very concerning to CREB and our members. We take realtor safety very seriously and have shared the content of the CPS release with the membership.”
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