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Crime Concerns Have Some Bay Area Residents Rethinking Personal Safety – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — The rampant retail smash-and-grab robberies happening in the Bay Area and elsewhere have some people rethinking their own safety, leading to a boom in gun sales and enrollment in self-defense classes.

John Parkin, the president of the Coyote Point Armory in Burlingame, has seen a tremendous uptick in gun sales in the past 18 months. He says 95 percent of the sales were for personal protection.

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“There’s still a lot people looking to come in to get what they need to protect themselves and their home,” Parkin told KPIX.

He said sales of non-lethal pepper spray are also up.

“At least a hundred percent from what it used to be a year and a half ago,” Parkin added.

Bay Area residents worried about personal safety aren’t just looking to arm themselves. People are also signing up for self-defense classes across the Bay Area. Business owner, mother and San Francisco resident Harmony Fraga was doing that Tuesday at the United Studios of Self Defense on San Francisco’s Fillmore Street.

“I have a three-year-old daughter and I feel obviously obligated to protect her and to protect myself,” Fraga explained. “I feel like the world right now is a very interesting place and it feels like there’s a lot of high intensity when I walk out alone or with my daughter.”

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Sensai John Collins is a blackbelt and an instructor at the studio. He says first and foremost, if someone is trying to take your possessions like a purse, phone or wallet, let them.

But if things escalate into a physical attack, there are three essential moves individuals need to know: get loud, put your hands in front of your face and step back from the danger.

“If I’m out walking around and something starts to happen, I will be like, ‘Noooooo!!!! Stay back! Stop it! Stop it! No! No! No!’” Collins demonstrated.

He says the volume of your voice in particular is important.

“The roar to draw as much attention to self, tell them what to do, if possible hurt their ear drums because of the closeness or proximity,” Collins said.

He said these moves something folks should practice and be ready to deploy with the ultimate goal of walking away safely.

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“Move around and looking for the exit. I’m trying to assess the situation whether I’m trying to physically interact or not,” said Collins. “Avoiding physical interaction for as long as possible. Trying to get cover. Trying to get to an open area.”

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