It’s literally been a deadly week in the repossession world.

American Recovery Association president Vaughn Clemmons recapped in an industry message on Friday that repossession agents were shot and killed in separate incidents in Alabama and California.

Clemmons indicated the tragedies raised the number of repossession agents killed while on assignments to seven in the past six months.

“As an industry, we’re grieving — for the loss of life, for the loved ones they leave behind, but also for the state of our industry,” Clemmons said in the message. “Our agents and our staff are in more danger than ever. We go to bed each night praying, wondering if our staff will be alive the next day. This isn’t and shouldn’t be normal.”

Jennifer Liagre, owner of Michigan-based Rockwood Recovery, offered similar sentiments at this year’s Used Car Week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

“It’s extremely dangerous,” Liagre said during an episode of the Auto Remarketing Podcast recorded during the first week of November. “I’m sure people have been seeing the news about the shootings of repo agents. Even when you try to just drop the car and leave, they’re still shooting at you and killing you. Literally. It’s what’s happening.

“You have to take into account the other dangers, like neighbors trying to get involved. A lot of times, it’s the neighbors that are the problem more so than the actual customer,” she added. “The way the world is today, it’s just so dangerous. And it’s just going to get worse because desperation causes people to do ugly things.”

Liagre mentioned how her operation invested in additional safety equipment, including more cameras in trucks to record violent episodes as well as bullet-proofs for agents to wear.

Clemmons implored the industry to take steps like Liagre has.

“Our recovery agents need body cameras and body armor to protect them and serve as a deterrent,” Clemmons said. “Police officers wear them for a reason, and they statistically are proven to save lives. What if we worked to ensure every recovery company in the nation had body cameras and body armor for their staff? Yes, they are extremely costly, and most recovery companies cannot afford them. What if we started a fund for ANY recovery company who cannot financially afford to purchase this equipment to have access to body cameras and body armor? What if … ?

“If you’re the head of a recovery company, recovery association, lending or forwarding company, it’s time to come together and have a meeting of the minds to make this happen,” Clemmons went on to say. “It’s literally a matter of life and death. Let’s start with a Zoom call in January, and plan to meet in person in Q1. Let’s make 2024 the year we make changes that will impact the safety and well-being of every person who works in the recovery industry. Let’s make it the year where we have no causalities in the recovery industry.”