PHOTO: Real estate agent. FILE
Amidst mounting frustrations with Australia’s cost of living crisis, a real estate office manager has turned to employing body cameras for her staff. According to a report by ABC News, Adele Crocker, a property office manager and sales agent in Queensland, has introduced the use of body cameras after one of her team members was trapped inside a house by a tenant during an inspection last year.
“In the aftermath, we’ve encountered several confrontations with tenants,” she disclosed to the publication. “It’s truly disheartening for us not to be able to assist people in finding housing. However, it starkly illustrates the severity of the housing crisis. The frustration and anger are palpable… It takes a toll on our staff, and it’s distressing to realize that we’re subjected to abuse just for carrying out our responsibilities.”
Crocker also noted that instances of conflict between tenants and her agents had notably declined since the staff began using body cameras.
“We reached a consensus that it was time to adopt cameras, not only for our safety but also for the benefit of tenants. This way, they can be assured that our inspections are conducted fairly,” she explained. Sam Galer, the principal project officer at the Residential Tenancies Authority, stated to ABC News that while the concept of real estate agents donning body cameras had been heard of in Queensland, it wasn’t a widespread practice.
Galer added, as reported, that the use of such body cameras was not restricted by legislation but suggested that real estate agents seek written consent and provide advance notice to potential clients. In June of this year, the New South Wales Government announced more stringent penalties for individuals who mistreated retail workers.
Acts like throwing objects, physically assaulting, harassing, stalking, or intimidating a retail worker during their duty could lead to a maximum of four years’ imprisonment for the offender – even if no bodily harm occurs.
Should the retail worker sustain injuries during the incident, the punishment could be elevated to six years of imprisonment.
The announcement also unveiled that an alarming 85 percent of retail workers reported encountering abuse on the job.
“Every worker has the right not only to feel secure at work but to be secure,” remarked Sophie Cotsis, the Minister for Industrial Relations and Work Health and Safety. Speaking with ABC News, Michael Noetel, a senior lecturer at the University of Queensland specializing in human behavior and decision-making, remarked that the escalation of tensions during times of financial stress, such as the current situation in Australia, was unsurprising.
“When we perceive a threat or insecurity, we often resort to various strategies to manage that, like becoming angry or aggressive,” he stated.
While being turned down during challenging times like the housing crisis can indeed be frustrating, it doesn’t warrant subjecting real estate agents to stalking, harassment, or mistreatment.
It is hoped that protective measures will be implemented to support those working in such stressful circumstances.