CONYERS — In 2017, the GBI Uniform Crime Report shows there were 188 aggravated assault cases, 380 burglary cases, 1,907 larceny and 29 sexual assaults reported in Rockdale County.

To combat those statistics and help the Conyers community feel safe, the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office is now offering women’s self defense courses throughout the year.

The second class took place on Thursday, Sept. 19.

More than 35 women attended the two-hour seminar and learned mental preparation tips as well as hands-on tactics.

“We have been wanting to do this for quite some time,” said Sheriff Eric Levett. “You never know when something might happen. I tell my wife all the time; when she’s out shopping or walking to the car to be alert and don’t look down.”

Lt. Jake Coggins, who has served in Rockdale County since 2002 and as the training coordinator since 2017, and Lt. Nikie Weathersby, who has also been at RCSO since 2002, headed the class.

“People always think it can’t happen to them ... until it does,” said Coggins.

Coggins went over mentally preparing for any situation and the different items and reactions you can have in order to protect yourself.

“When it comes down to it, protecting yourself from harm is 95% mental and 5% physical,” said Coggins. “If in your head, you say ‘I can’t do this,’ then that’s how your body will react. But if you prepare yourself, turn that fear into anger, you could save your life.”

Ending the session, Coggins and Weathersby provided step-by-step exercises and demonstrations showing the class how to defend themselves from physical harm.

“We aren’t teaching you how to fight,” said Coggins. “We are giving you viable movements and reactions that will allow you to get away.”

To learn more, contact Lt. Jake Coggins at 770-278-8109 or Karen Anderson at 770-278-8109.