GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Preventing a robbery or sexual crime from happening is possible, but you have to know what to look for and what to do once you recognize the situation.
The Seabee Base in Gulfport offered bystander intervention training Thursday afternoon.
It's all part of a pilot program the Naval Construction Battalion Center (NCBC) has started to teach local establishments how to spot a potentially dangerous situation in the business and how to safely intervene.
The staff at Tony's Brick Oven Pizzeria in Gulfport did more than serve up pizzas. They learned how to protect themselves and their customers from becoming victims of crimes like sexual assault and robbery.
"By intervening ahead of time, you could save that one person from having to experience something like that," said Sexual Assault Response Coordinator Michael Jordy.
Jordy told servers one in four women will experience some type of sexual assault in their lifetime. His class aims to decrease that number and prevent other kinds of crimes with bystander intervention training.
"People see what's going on, but maybe they might not do something on a regular basis, but after getting this training, they know what to look for. They are able to intervene in certain situations prior to it escalating," Jordy said.
A DVD shows a bar scene reenactment where an intoxicated woman is approached by a predator who wants to take her to his room.
"It's always good to have that awareness again of how people can isolate in a certain situation where you might not see it right at first, and then, all of a sudden, it's like no, they didn't know each other," said Gianina Belfiglio, who is the manager at Tony's Brick Oven Pizzeria.
Jordy says there's a way staff can safely intrude before a sexual crime occurs.
"Be able to intervene to where you have a larger presence, not just a man, but a presence of management or something to that effect," said Jordy.
While this may be a pizza business, the employees aren't just watching the dough rise. They're watching out for their customer's safety also.
Jordy said this is the second class he has taught off base. If you're interested in having the bystander training class taught at your business, you may call 228-871-3715.