Simple, common-sense steps can increase your safety

A retired police officer and NRA-certified pistol instructor and range safety instructor, Victor Ricigliano will teach a two-day class, Refuse To Be A Victim, at the Breckenridge Elementary-Middle School in Room 233 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27 and Monday, Dec. 4.

Twin Towns community members can learn simple, common-sense steps to keep themselves and their property safe through a new Breckenridge Community Education course.

A retired police officer and NRA-certified pistol instructor and range safety instructor, Victor Ricigliano will teach a two-day class, Refuse To Be A Victim, at the Breckenridge Elementary-Middle School in Room 233 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27 and Monday, Dec. 4. The four-hour course is broken into two days and teaches common weaknesses criminals may take advantage of and a variety of corrective measures that are practical, inexpensive and easy to follow.

This is not a firearms instruction course and does not include instruction in physical combat self defense. It is appropriate for anyone who can follow instructions, Ricigliano explained.

The course includes classroom instruction on criminal psychology, automobile crimes, cyber safety, home security and a variety of crime prevention techniques, in addition to the use of personal safety devices and other strategies.

Students will receive the Refuse To Be A Victim handbook, brochure, firearms supplement and course certification.

Ricigliano said he teaches conflict avoidance and situational awareness in the class.

“If you’re old enough and mature enough to comprehend what I’m talking about, this class is good for everyone. I teach what the bad guy, the criminal, is looking for. Criminals are lazy and look for opportunities,” he said. “We teach people what to look for, how to be situationally aware – aware of your surroundings.”

Simple fixes to increase home security are discussed, which gives the occupant more time to get to a safe place.

“You want to delay that bad guy, you want to make it difficult on them. It can give you time to get into a safe room and call 911,” he said.

He also shares information about cybersecurity – what to put on the Internet, what emails to avoid answering, phishing scams and more.

“I teach things like, most people, especially in winter, rush from the store to their car, jump in and start the engine to warm up. You should look in your back seat before getting in, lock the doors once you’re in, then put the keys in the ignition,” he said.

“With what’s going on in society today, it’s not that it’s being reported more, but there is more violence going on now. People are less tolerant and we have to be vigilant and watch what’s going on around us,” he said. “If someone is 100 percent dedicated to getting in your house, they will, but you want to make it hard for them.”

Living out in the country doesn’t mean you’re more safe. People will drive around farmsteads, looking for things to steal, such as gas cans or vehicles.

He advises to always lock your doors, even if you’re just working in the yard or a barn nearby.

“It’s not about being paranoid, it’s about being prepared,” he said.

To sign up for this course, visit http://www.breckenridge.k12.mn.us/page/2548 or call the school district at 218-643-6822.

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