HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - No one expects to be attacked, but Sgt. Emma Baptiste, with the Harrison County Law Enforcement Training Academy, believes everyone should always be prepared.
Baptiste has been with the academy for 15 years and teaches annual self-defense classes. She says the key to not having to use those lessons is staying alert.
"You need to be aware of your surroundings all the time. People are too busy looking at their phones, reading emails, texting while they're walking, and they just do not look around," said Baptiste.
Baptiste stresses that you can never be overly cautious, especially when you are alone. In July, a young lady spoke with us about being attacked outside of Edgewater Mall while walking to her car when a man attacked her for her purse.
"If you're walking out by yourself, go get the mall security to walk out with you. There's nothing wrong with you, but items are not worth your life. Let them have the purse," said Baptiste.
Most importantly, Baptiste says if the situation does arise where you feel threatened, don't be afraid to defend yourself.
"If you are caught in a confrontation where the person is being violent toward you and is trying to get you to do anything to hurt you, own yourself, do not panic and fight back," said Baptiste.
Don't let the size of your attacker intimidate you. Baptiste says you don't always have to overpower them to run free.
"The eye balls, the groin shots, all the things that can hurt them to make them give you space to get away," said Baptiste.
Baptiste plans to hold another free self-defense seminar in October. More information will be posted to the Harrison County Sheriff's Office website closer to that time.