BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Moving through the city with a thousand tasks at hand, the busy can easily become the prey.
"Criminals are kind of like predators," J.D. Leach, director of training for the Baton Rouge Police Department, said. "They are going to look for the weakest link."
Danger doesn't just lurk down dark allies and bad neighborhoods. Even a careless, distracted moment in the middle of the day can open oneself up to violence.
"It's not to make you scared or paranoid," Cpl. Rendy Richard with BRPD said. "It's just waking up those senses that 'I don't want to be in that situation' and it can happen to you."
Police officers say being aware is the best way to keep from becoming a victim of violent crime. But sometimes, even the most vigilant women are targeted. So, what do you do when someone attacks you, pulls you into danger or grabs you by the throat with just seconds to act before you black out? What is your one last move?
Richard said it's simple.
"Don't quit. Whatever you do, don't stop," she explained.
The Baton Rouge Police Department teaches women self-defense through its Equalizer program. While the techniques are extensive, the biggest lesson is simply to fight back.
"Your odds, your chances of survival are better if you resist," Leach added.
One of the most basic maneuvers is a series of strikes. The first is called a hammer strike. Form a fist and strike with the meaty part of the side of hand, right below the pinky. The motion is similar to hammering a nail.
Leach said you can use that strike to hit the face, nose and even chest to distract your assailant long enough to get away. He added it is a good strike if the attacker is farther away. If the attacker is closer, you can do the same strikes using the elbow, by swinging elbows out or up to hit the nose, chest or even diaphragm.
The last strike is called a heel strike. It is done by thrusting up with an open palm of your hand, striking with the heel of your palm. Aim for the nose, head or chest. If someone grabs your arm, you can break that grip easily by putting pressure on the hand's weakest spot, the thumb. Leach said to sink your elbow down and lift your hand quickly. The motion should allow you to slip your arm out of the grip. If it is a two-handed grab, use your free hand to help pull your arm up while using the same motion.
However, what about a more aggressive attack? Leach said a choke hold can knock you out in under 10 seconds.
"In any choke, the first thing you want to do is kind of shrug your shoulders and tuck your chin in. This is going to buy you more time," Leach explained.
Leach said a technique called the wave can be used to break a choke hold. It's done by raising an arm straight up, then crossing it over the attacker's hands and bringing the whole arm down. At the same time, rotate your shoulders and hips in the same direction. The movement should break the assailant's grip and put you in a position to use one of the strikes described above.
Richard said no one wants to need these maneuvers, but it's important to be prepared. She added it's also important that women imagine the "what ifs" so that they can know how to react if the time comes.
"Step up and take responsibility of your safety. If that means standing toe-to-toe and looking them in the eyes and letting them know that you're, that you see them and you're not going to take it, then so be it," Richard said.
The next BRPD Equalizer class will be held in August. The class is four sessions on August 18, 20, 25, 27 and runs from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited. Click here to register.