A self-defense technique used in police and fire academies is gaining popularity n Mesquite.
Combat Objective Battle Ready Application, or COBRA, uses real-life training scenarios that place students in mock situations such as home invasions, ATM holdups, assault and vehicle abductions.
The technique originated in Florida.
One of the most important aspects of COBRA is teaching the student to be aware of his or her surroundings and how to recognize potentially dangerous situations and individuals that may pose a threat.
Ultimately, the technique teaches survival.
"We tell our students that you basically have three options when confronted with an attacker: You can fight, you can flee, or you can comply," instructor Keith Gorham said. "If you make the wrong decision, you could die. If you make the right decision, you live."
Such scenario training taps into the primal fear and adrenal stress that a person experiences in a real situation. The same approach is used in police academies, firefighters academies and the military.
Patricia Giddings said she lost her sense of security as well as her money when she was robbed at gun- and knifepoint.
"Something really bad could have happened to me and right there in the middle of everybody," she said. "I could have been dead."
She said she was taking the class with her daughter in hopes that self-defense techniques she didn't know when she was robbed would help her daughter now and in the future.
"She'll be going away to college soon, and I wanted her to be in a situation where she felt confident and empowered to be able to protect herself and be aware of her surroundings," Giddings said.
According to Mesquite police records, there were 1,048 burglaries as of this time last year. So far this year, burglaries have increased to 1,283.
Residents such as Mindy Pickleman take these figures seriously.
"You never know what's going to happen when you get in certain situations or how to avoid them, so I've really learned how to stay aware, how to stay out of situations," she said. "But if I do end up in one, I feel like I have the confidence to get out of that situation."
The 10-week training academy costs $349.