BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - After several recent kidnappings in the Birmingham area, more and more people want to learn how to protect themselves. Saturday, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office gave the gift of peace of mind, by offering a free self-defense class.
This was one of three classes offered today on self-defense and over 30 women came to just a single class. The attendance only goes to show just how much self-defense is on everybody’s minds.
“Sheriff Pettway asked the academy to develop a training course that would help the citizens with their safety and awareness,” says Tommie Black, Deputy Director at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Training Academy.
Safety and awareness being the top two priorities in this season of shopping. Trainers remind us of a few things you might not think about.
“One thing is, most car clickers, if you unlock it coming out of a store, trying to find where your car is parked, you’ve unlocked your car. Plus, you’ve indicated to whomever may be following you where you’re going,” says Black.
They say when walking to your car, be alert; constantly scanning the parking lot. Don’t let your phone distract you. Surveillance video shows one man so involved in his phone that he completely misses an armed robber walking right past him as everyone drops to the floor.
They say if you don’t want to buy a gun, an easy thing to carry, is an emergency whistle. But they also encourage you to improvise.
“One lady in the last class, we just had said I’ve got a metal nail file. I keep it for my nails, but I keep it where I can find it real quick," says Black.
Trainers also demonstrated how just using a flashlight can deter a predator. Trainers also giving tips having good lighting, and not hiding keys in predictable places, to stay safe at home.
Vanessa Pettway, Sheriff Mark Pettway’s wife, sat in on today’s class with their teenage daughter.
“And I think what this class is making us aware of is how many times we’ve allowed ourselves to be vulnerable,” says Pettway.
It’s never been a more important topic, especially in light of the recent kidnapping of Aniah Blanchard.
“What we want to make certain, is that no parent begins to have to experience that pain ever again.”
She encourages all women to take advantage of these free courses.
The demand has been so high, the sheriff’s office is talking about adding more classes in the new year. Updates on those class times will be posted here.