(Above) Beverly Carter and Carl Carter, Jr. (Courtesy of Carl Carter, Jr.)
Remembering Beverly Carter on the 5-Year Anniversary of Her Tragic Death
Sept. 25, 2019 marks five years since my mom, REALTOR® Beverly Carter, was kidnapped during a property showing. She was missing for five days before her body was found in a shallow grave. All it took was one appointment to devastate a family and leave the real estate industry shaken.
I’m continually touched by the kindness and openness of our industry to embrace my sweet mom’s story. I’ve often asked myself why Mom’s story resonates all these years later. I think there are a few reasons for this. First, she truly represented the average agent as a 50-year-old female, so I think many agents could, in some ways, see themselves in her. Secondly, I’ve seen firsthand the emotional response of shocked agents when learning of the predatory plan that led my mom to that showing. I’ve heard the following phrase more times than I can count: “I would have made the same decisions as Beverly. That would have been me.” Unraveling the complexity of this predatory plan, although uncomfortable, contains dozens of safety reminders for all agents regardless of gender or geographical location.
Since Mom’s passing, I have observed our industry continually strive to make itself safer, most notably in technological advances within the past few years. During this time, we’ve seen technology that’s already existed expand to incorporate safety features. I find it exciting to see lockbox technology, such as SentriLock, continue to enhance features to integrate home-seller and agent safety within the same application.
To expand on this point, I have seen a lot of real estate safety technology come and go, too. From my viewpoint, success in the agent safety technology space requires the development of practical solutions agents can easily incorporate into their everyday sales and service activity—not another tool they have to remember to use.
It’s been assuring and inspiring to see the National Association of REALTORS® REACH® program embrace agent safety through its program in recent years. Technology such as Trust Stamp and Kleard have taken the safety conversation from “that could never work” to realities that could help save lives. Additionally, the creation of the REALTOR® Safety Network this year has given agents a single forum to rally together in times of missing agents, fraudulent activity or in response to physical threats.
My sweet mom isn’t the only agent driving our passion at the Beverly Carter Foundation. Through the generosity of our industry, I have been blessed to conduct over 85 instructor-led training sessions spanning 32 states, the District of Columbia and two Canadian provinces. Time permitting, at the conclusion of each of these sessions, I’ve been approached by at least one agent with their personal story of victimization. While citing my experiences with these precious agents is hardly scientific, they each reinforce the need for continual education, awareness and advocacy. I’ve been entrusted with stories of theft, harassment, rape and a few agents lost like my precious mom. We hold each of these people in our hearts as we strive to make our industry safer.
Earlier this year, Carl Carter, Jr., addressed attendees of RISMedia’s 2019 Real Estate Newsmakers Reception & Dinner, where he
was awarded Hall of Fame status. (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)
Looking to the future, I’m hopeful to partner with the National Association of REALTORS® to improve the results of their annual safety survey, as it is the best tool we have to gauge the overall safety trends and perceptions in the industry. Largely due to our independent contractor status, we have very few data sources related to agent safety and criminal statistics. Without the leadership and resources of the National Association of REALTORS®, we’d solely have self-reported data through the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and internet search results of specific crime coverage.
Additionally, I think we have a lot of opportunity to make safety resources more easily accessible and customizable. Personally, I would love to see downloadable safety kits that are easily branded for brokerages, as I believe they have the greatest opportunity for frequent, continual influence in raising safety awareness. I’m also hopeful that more Young Professionals Network (YPN) chapters will embrace the safety message, as they can inspire safer, more efficient business practices early on in an agent’s career.
I wish our industry a very reflective REALTOR® Safety Month full of opportunities and inspiration to examine your sales and service processes to reduce as many risks as possible. Let your safety practices be an extension of your professionalism.
To those precious victims through the years, we remember you, and we pledge to keep your tragic circumstances from being in vain.
Carl Carter, Jr. is a REALTOR® and founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to improving agent safety. His mom, REALTOR® Beverly Carter, lost her life at the hands of two clients in 2014. Since his mother’s passing, Carter has dedicated as much time as possible to spreading the message of safety. He has a Master and Bachelor of Business Administration degrees from the University of Arkansas.