I didn’t take any safety precautions while on Winthrop Street in Roxbury yesterday while I was investigating a few properties on behalf of a client and immediately felt extremely vulnerable upon hearing a few loud voices walking down the street. The part of Winthrop Street where I was working is a one way street coming off of Blue Hill Avenue with very little traffic. This part of Winthrop Street, to make matters worse, is sparsely populated because almost all of the buildings are vacant because they either need to be rehabilitated or have recently been rehabilitated; properties like 103 Winthrop Street, Roxbury which recently sold for $720,000 and 107 Roxbury Street, Roxbury which was recently rehabilitated and is currently under agreement after being listed listed for $679,000.
I was knocking on a door and ringing the buzzers at a property when I first heard the loud voices. I immediately knew, without even seeing the men that they were up to no good and a chill immediately ran down my spine because I knew that I was exposed. I had my iPhone 5s and the keys to my new 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited in my hand and there were no hiding them. I’ve been selling real estate in Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury for fifteen years and I grew up in East Boston and went to school in Chelsea so I’m used to being exposed to rough characters. There most likely wouldn’t have been any cars driving down the street within the next few minutes because not one other car had driven down the street in the five to ten minutes that I’d already been on Winthrop Street and there were barely any neighbors to help with or, at least, witness a robbery and, most likely, the concurrent assault and battery.
I was hidden from the street by some tall bushes but that didn’t help because my aforementioned and extremely conspicuous Jeep Cherokee was parked right out front so I decided to handle the situation in the same way I’ve handled similar situations many times in the past including the time that I heard gunshots coming from one of the buildings only a few hundred feet away from me one Sunday afternoon as I was finishing up an open house at 89 Coleman Street, Dorchester.
I went about my business. It’s that simple. I sensed that I would’ve been robbed and beaten up, at a minimum, if I had shown any fear. I walked out from behind the bushes and proceeded to walk down the sidewalk to investigate the properties. I didn’t look at the guys, who were now behind me, until after I was finished my visual inspection. I immediately said “hey guys” in an attempt to show them that I had no fear. One of the guys wasn’t wearing a shirt and the other was wearing a wife beater and a ‘do rag. One of them, I can’t remember which, was also holding a bottle in a brown paper bag. I was friendly but firm in my acknowledgement. They acknowledged me in return. I think they were a bit stunned to see such an idiot leaving himself open for target on their street. They walked right past me on my way back to my car and I got in my Jeep Cherokee. I was immediately relieved. I had no means to defend myself.
I made a mistake. I’ve been so used to working in Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury that I decided not to trust my gut instinct; I remember, before parking, that I was going to drive right by instead of getting out of my car but I ignored it. I put myself in a bad position because I was being too aggressive. This story could’ve ended badly for me like it did for other real estate agents like:
- Beverly Carter – Murdered by Aaron Lewis
- Vivian Martin – Murdered by Grant Cooper
- Ashley Okland – Murder is unsolved
- Sarah Anne Walker – Murdered by Kosoul Chanthakoummane
More recently, there’s a real estate agent named Sidney Cranston, Jr. who is currently missing.
I urge all real estate agents out there to trust your instincts. It’s your best ally. Be careful!