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‘Refuse To Be A Victim’ class can help improve personal security UPDATED 11:12 AM EDT May 17, 2012 Felicia Rodriguez (WPBF […]

‘Refuse To Be A Victim’ class can help improve personal security

UPDATED 11:12 AM EDT May 17, 2012

Felicia Rodriguez (WPBF ABC New Anchor)

Personal protection course helps



You’ve probably done it before — left your garage door open or perhaps your car unlocked or even running, while you run back for something you forgot.

Police in South Florida are saying they’re seeing a rise in a particular type of crime, that will have you re-thinking the way you do things.

They’re called crimes of opportunity and they can happen in the blink of an eye.

All it takes is letting your guard down just once.

It happened to a 63-year-old woman named Linda.

She stopped home in the middle of the day and was not prepared for what she found. A man was in her kitchen, taking food from her freezer.

Linda was scared, the man ran and she called 911.

Linda has been the victim of a crime not just once, but 10 times in a matter of a year, she told WPBF.

“I’m not going to allow myself to be a victim anymore,” Linda said. So she enrolled in a personal protection course through Home Safety Academy in Lake Park.

“We have actually seen more students in the first few months of this year than we saw all of last year,” said David D’Eugenio, who teaches a class called, “Refuse to be a Victim.”

D’Eugenio said he believes the key to personal safety is awareness.

According to new crime data released by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, non-violent crimes like burglaries, larceny and car thefts are all up.

“Criminals don’t like a lot of resistance,” Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Davis said. “They want the easy target, easy prey. You reduce your odds. Don’t make yourself easy prey.”

Davis shared a few safety tips:

+ Women in particular need to keep an eye out and scan the parking lot
+ Don’t walk and talk or walk and text
+ Instead of a cell phone, have keys in hand when walking to the car
+ Don’t waste time fumbling through your purse
+ You can also press the panic button on your key fob to draw attention if you feel you’re being followed

“If somebody wants to take my purchases and packages, that’s one thing,” busy mother of four April Badala said. “I’m more afraid for myself and my kids that someone’s going to try and enter the vehicle with me.”

And you’ve heard it before: Don’t leave valuables out in the open, whether in your car or in your garage.

Linda learned that lesson the hard way, but she’s since made security improvements to her home, she’s added dead-bolts to her doors and bars on her windows. She also keeps her home well-lit on the outside and even got her concealed-weapons permit.

“I feel secure in my house now,” she said.