MERIDIAN - A Boise man is behind bars, accused of sexually assaulting a Realtor in Meridian Wednesday night.
Meridian Police say the Realtor had shown the suspect, Ertan Ikic, and his wife several other homes in the past, but this time it was just him. He came alone.
So what can Realtors do to try to stay safe? We spoke with Danielle Cullip with Silver Hawk Realty to find out how they're trained.
"We all do it every day," said Cullip. "We go out and we're out to show a home and we're ready to sell. It's all about that instinct."
Oftentimes, Realtors are alone with a prospective buyer in an empty house, making them vulnerable.
"You really don't know these people," said Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea with the Meridian Police Department. "You know them on a very limited basis when they're showing you their best behavior. They're potential buyers they want to show you they're good people."
Ikic was one of those potential buyers. Basterrechea says Ikic cornered the Realtor in a hallway, groped her, then tried to block her way out.
"She fought back," said Basterrechea. "She was very clear with her verbalization with no and she said to stop."
It's scenarios like that this Cullip says play in the back of her mind as she's preparing to show a house. Which is why she says Realtors take certain steps to try to prevent this, like meeting their potential buyers face-to-face at their offices and make copies of their ID's.
"We can transfer that off to somebody within our office so they know who we're with and where we're at," Cullip said.
Then, she says she goes with her gut.
"If you feel it before going into the home, don't," said Cullip. "Stay outside, let them view the home and then they can come out."
If she goes inside, she makes sure to always stay behind the potential buyer.
"You let them walk in and you find your exit points at every situation," said Cullip. "Let them view the home and you stay right next to a door and be ready to exit."
Another key - taking safety training. Both the National and Idaho Associations of Realtors offer this resource. Cullip says self defense classes don't hurt either.
"Any kind of self defense that you have is going to be beneficial," said Cullip. "Just know how to use it."
Jay Beecham, with Streetwise Women's Self Defense, offers Realtors defense training. In his classes, he teaches them how to break free in several different scenarios.
"The point is you just fight back," sad Beecham. "And you fight back with everything you've got."
Ikic was booked in the Ada County Jail on the charge of battery with intent to commit a serious felony and misdemeanor false imprisonment.
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