(Surrey, BC) The White Rock RCMP credit Realty Watch, the community crime prevention program of Lower Mainland Realtors, for helping them locate a missing, vulnerable senior within one hour of asking for their assistance.
The RCMP issued a press release at 10:05 am, Thursday morning, May 28, 2009 asking the public for help in locating a 91 year old female, suffering from dementia, missing from her care home in White Rock, BC since the early morning.
At 10:29 am, they contacted the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board requesting it issue a Realty Watch “fan-out” – a text message that is sent simultaneously to its 3,000 members – only used in urgent circumstances such as missing people. At 10:50 am, every Realtor in the Fraser Valley received a 300-character message including the woman’s description, location last seen and an appeal to be on the lookout.
At 11:28 am, Cst. Janelle Canning, Media Liaison officer with the White Rock RCMP, sent a follow-up email to Realty Watch. “Thanks so much, we have located the female with your Realtor’s help! Yeah, Realty Watch!”
That Realtor was Dan Korness of Royal LePage Northstar Realty in Surrey. His story illustrates why REALTORS® are an excellent public safety tool for police. They’re always on the move, spread across all neighbourhoods and are equipped with communication devices.
On the morning the senior was reported missing, Korness was showing a house on 20th Avenue in South Surrey. He was outside with his clients when an elderly woman walking nearby on the sidewalk, stumbled and fell. Another passerby reached her first then everyone joined in to offer assistance. Other than a few scrapes, she appeared to be okay, but to be on the safe side, an ambulance was called.
An hour later, Korness was now kilometres away at a different White Rock listing when he received the Realty Watch fan-out text message for a missing person. The description strongly resembled the elderly woman that had fallen… in particular her age, hair colour and white sweater.
“I just put two and two together. So I called the police telling them that I thought the missing senior they were looking for might be at the Peace Arch Hospital and told them the story of what happened in front of the house.”
The White Rock RCMP took down his information, including the fact that he was a Realtor and member of Realty Watch, then contacted the hospital to confirm that it was indeed the missing woman, who was recovering nicely from her fall and would be returning safely to her care home.
“Realty Watch was instrumental in locating her,” says Cst. Canning. “We’d like to offer special thanks to Dan Korness and all REALTORS® for caring for their communities by participating in this program.”
This is Realty Watch’s third success in the Fraser Valley – Realtors spotted a runaway boy in 2000 and a missing teen in 2006.