COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Although no one can guarantee their safety, there are ways to lessen the chances of being targeted. The “Refuse to be a Victim” program which will be taught by the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, May 23 from 5 to 9 p.m. for those 12 and older intends to help educate community members on measures they can take to stay safe.

“This is basically teaching our citizens how to basically be aware of their surroundings and how to be a hardened target and how to recognize criminal activity,” said Major Curtis Lockette of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office.

The seminar uses materials from the “Refuse to be a Victim” program by the National Rifle Association (NRA), although Lockette specified that it has nothing to do with firearms training.

According to Lockette this is the first time the sheriff’s office has offered the course since before the pandemic, however they now plan to offer it at least once per quarter.

Lockette said the training will cover a range of topics from physical security to home security to personal protection devices and more. He provided examples of ensuring one is in a well-lit spot if alone at night and to teach children who are home alone to say things like “My dad is in the shower, you’ll have to come back later,” if they hear a knock at the door to indicate the presence of an adult.

He also said the sheriff’s office uses the 1997 book “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker to teach about survival signals and trusting one’s gut.

The book was previously featured on a talk show in the ‘90s, Lockette recalled. He added that the author told the story of a woman who was raped after she allowed a man to help her put groceries in her home after some initial trepidation. Lockette said that in the story the woman narowly escaped after the man went to the kitchen for what she presumed was a knife to kill her.

“We think it’s important that people really understand what goes on around and to not believe they are helpless,” Lockette said. He added that sometimes its possible to avoid being the victim of a crime if people pay a little bit of extra attention to their surroundings.

Lockette doubled-down and said, “You don’t have to be a victim, and that’s why the class is called ‘Refuse to be a Victim.’”

Though the RVSP period for this week’s seminar is closed, Lockette said that people interested in having the seminar taught at their workplace or school can reach out to him to schedule a class.