Local Keller Williams holds self-defense class after realtor is groped

PORTER RANCH, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Holding open houses is part of the job description for realtors, but watching one of their own be attacked while doing just that is bringing self-defense to the forefront.

A woman in surveillance video of the incident said she was groped by a man who had been in the area before. The Keller Williams in Porter Ranch believes it's not the first time.

"One agent in particular that I spoke to in the morning, she said that she was grabbed as well at an open house, and this goes back a couple of months ago," said manager Bob Siegmeth. "They think it's the same man."

The office held a self-defense class for women and men Tuesday

Independent Damsel in Defense Director Kathy Card went over different weapons you can use like pepper spray and stun guns. She said situational awareness is key, even practicing short phrases to shout like, "Get away!"

"The class is excellent because we as an agent, we don't think that we're going to have these type of persons coming to our open houses," said realtor Rufina Barrera.

According to a report by National Association of Realtors released this month:

  • 1/3 has experienced a situation that made them fear for their safety.
  • 1/20 realtors say they have been the victim of a crime.
  • 44% carry a self-defense weapon. (Pepper spray was the most common, followed by gun and pocket knife.)
  • And more than half use a smartphone safety app to track their whereabouts.

Barrera said she's taking what she learned today to share with others. "Extend the information to my daughters, to the women outside, that we have to take care. We have to look out."
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