Course offers Tactics on not Falling Prey to Crime

-By Dan Murphy

If there’s one lesson that Sgt. Gary Eblan hopes to instill in people who attend the class he is teaching on street smarts later this month, it’s to follow their gut feelings.

“If you don’t trust your instincts, you increase your chance of becoming a victim,” said Eblan, a 22-year veteran of the Boston Police Department. “If the hair on the back of your neck stands up, don’t ignore it.”

Eblan, who currently oversees the training curriculum for all incoming officers as registrar of the Boston Police Department, will offer his presentation entitled “Reducing the Odds” at Hill House, 74 Joy St., on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. The free lecture is co-sponsored by the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Safety Committee in partnership with Boston Police Area A-1.

Among the strategies for not falling prey to crime that Eblan will discuss are making oneself a tough target, being aware of one’s surroundings, assessing risk and creating a plan of action. Topics also include victim profiles, perpetrator profiles and body language.

“I want  [attendees] to recognize that something isn’t right before something happens and change their circumstances,” Eblan said.

Eblan also teaches students of his class that distance from threatening individuals provides safety, and that they can often diffuse a potentially dangerous situation by attracting attention to themselves.

While Eblan will touch on self-defense, he said physically defending oneself should always be a last resort.

“Fighting isn’t good,” Eblan said. “People get hurt when they fight.”

BHCA Safety Committee Chair Paula O’Keeffe hopes to see a large turnout for the class, adding that it offers “common sense ways to deal with frightening situations in the city.”

Captain O’Rourke of Boston Police Area A-1 believes the course is a good primer for city residents.

“It’s an overview of safety tips, including awareness of surrounding and how people should be conducting themselves walking down the street,” O’Rourke said.

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