While work schedules may slow down during the holidays, it is critical that you remain vigilant about your safety at all times. Since the early fall, HAR has received a steady stream of notifications from members that have been harassed by text message, phone call or both from local numbers, out-of-state numbers and blocked numbers. In most cases, the texts begin with a genuine inquiry into a property listing and they quickly turn inappropriate. Or the texter/caller will claim to have reached the female agent by mistake and then proceed to text advances to her. Often these texts will include photos of his genitalia or other body parts. The content is extremely disturbing. It is unclear if the person sending the harassing texts and/or placing the harassing calls is the same in each case or of there are multiple bad actors at work. We recently heard of cases in which the suspect asks to see rental properties in low traffic areas and then exposes himself to the agent. HAR has been and continues to assist law enforcement agencies as they investigate the various cases, which unfortunately show no sign of letting up.
We appreciate that many members reach out to HAR to inform us that they have been contacted by the suspect(s) or have had some encounter. However, we cannot emphasize enough that the first call you need to make, if and when you are harassed, is to the local police department, whether that is the Houston Police Department (HPD), the Harris County Sherriff’s Office (HCSO) or authorities in Montgomery, Fort Bend or any other counties and jurisdictions across the greater Houston area. They have the authority to investigate and arrest.
HAR wants to ensure a safe holiday season and new year for all members, so acting quickly in calling the police and being able to provide evidence including phone numbers and screen captures are critical. If you wish to let us know about an investigation that has been started after you contacted the police, you may email HAR Public Relations Manager David Mendel at firstname.lastname@example.org.