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December 9, 2016

Florida Eyes Stiffer Penalties for Crimes Against Agents

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Florida Eyes Stiffer Penalties for Crimes Against Agents

Florida lawmakers are moving to increase penalties against those who commit crimes against real estate professionals. A bill highlighting dangers faced by real estate professionals may strengthen protection for industry professionals after several threats and violence against agents nationwide has captured headlines over the past year.

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The state senate’s Criminal Justice Committee approved a proposal this week that would increase the classification of assaults, batteries, and sexual batteries against real estate professionals who are showing properties.  

Nancy Detert (R-Venice) sponsored the bill, saying that real estate professionals need more protection.

“It’s premeditated,” Detert says about those who want to harm agents. “They’re making an appointment with you to assault, murder, or rob you. It’s the stalking aspect. It’s the fact that it’s mostly a female occupation.”

Not all lawmakers are in favor of the bill, however. Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) told the Palm Beach Post that he’s “nervous” about enacting criminal laws that single out professionals for special protections.

Forty percent of REALTORS® say they’ve experienced a situation that made them fear for their personal safety or safety of their personal information, according to a 2015 survey by the National Association of REALTORS®. However, just 2 percent said they had been robbed and 1 percent had been victims of assault while working, the survey showed.

The Florida bill must gain approval from two other committees before going before the full state senate.

Source: “Florida Bill Stiffens Penalties for Crimes Against Real Estate Agents,” PalmBeachPost.com (Feb. 22, 2016)