Breaking News
More () »

'Crime happens everywhere': North Phoenix self-defense facility stresses importance of protecting yourself

React Defense Systems in North Phoenix has seen an increase in inquiries over the past week in light of the shocking murder of Lauren Heike.

PHOENIX — Self-defense experts at Tactical Black in North Phoenix are seeing an increase in inquiries after the tragic death of 29-year-old Lauren Heike, who was viciously attacked by a stranger from behind while on a walk in broad daylight.

“Something like this unfortunately yeah it can get everyone on edge, especially a place that you think is a nice area, crime happens everywhere," said Josh Ackerman, one of Tactical Black's co-owners and head instructors.

12News observed one of their classes Monday night where Arizonans from all different backgrounds came together for a self-defense course. This particular session had a focus on defending against edged weapons.

Many there were taking part in the facility's eight-month beginner self-defense program.

“Even if they came a couple days a week for that eight months, it gives them such a solid foundation of training," Ackerman said.

Tactical Black and React Defense Systems has three locations across the Valley and caters to everyone from law enforcement and the military to the general public.

Ackerman and fellow instructors urge Arizonans to be proactive.

When hiking or walking, Ackerman recommends avoiding headphones, especially if they are noise canceling, do not be distracted by your cell phone, and if you are going out alone, do not follow the same routine every day. Mix up what time and location you walk or hike.

But Ackerman says there is nothing more valuable than learning to protect yourself.

“Striking to the throat, striking to the face, being able to kick or knee to the groin," Ackerman explained.

Ackerman says most tactics they teach are rooted in instinct and all it takes is learning minor changes to those movements to be able to defend yourself.

“We're 50/50 as far as percentage of men and women that come and train and it’s empowering for all of them," Ackerman said.

Tactical Black hosts a wide variety of classes and trainings. They are holding a women's self-defense seminar in Chandler on July 28. You can find out more information here.

Latest Arizona news

Catch up on the latest news and stories on our 12News YouTube playlist here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out