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Las Vegas police teach women how to stay safe

Updated December 4, 2018 - 9:17 pm

Have you ever practiced screaming for help?

What would you say? How loud would you say it? Would you hesitate in an effort to be polite?

Questions such as these are the center of a new women’s safety class offered through the Metropolitan Police Department.

“This class is about developing safe habits in your everyday life as opposed to defensive tactics,” Lt. Kristine Buist said Tuesday. “Defensive tactics and weapons are discussed as an option, but this is more about making good decisions to avoid being placed in a situation where you can be an easy target.”

The free classes are taught by women, for women, hosted within local businesses and community centers upon request. Depending on accommodations, class leaders can address a handful of women or hundreds.

“This is not about being paranoid,” Buist said. “This is about being aware.”

The Las Vegas Review-Journal attended a version of the class Tuesday. In it Buist ran through a list of helpful safety tips. They included trusting your gut, being assertive and being willing to fight if necessary.

With each tip, Buist presented a real scenario that came from her experience working as a vice detective, then ran through a list of possible reactions to the scenario.

“Most criminals are opportunists,” Buist said. “They don’t want to fight, they don’t want attention drawn to them. They want the easiest target they can find. So if you can make yourself, your property and your family a harder target, they’re going to move on.”

Buist’s main takeaway: It’s important to mentally and physically prepare in the event that you may be attacked. That way, in the face of danger, you are more readily prepared to react.

Police in Seattle host a similar class, and officers in the last year have trained more than 5,000 women, Buist said. It’s where she got the idea to host the class in Las Vegas.

The program has goals to expand to Henderson. Buist and others already have trained instructors with North Las Vegas police, which will begin offering the courses soon.

Contact Rachel Crosby at rcrosby@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3801. Follow @rachelacrosby on Twitter.

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