WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) — Every year, the Winston-Salem Police Department offers a free self-defense class for women.

This year, officers said it’s especially important with the recent violence against women we’ve seen in the city.

The class will be at the R&D Academy of Self-Defense. Officers tell FOX8 they want to offer this two to four times per year. The class is two-fold. Officers give a talk about awareness, and then instructors show women how to defend themselves.

“Self-defense is a lot like insurance,” said Tiffany Potter, an instructor. “You hope you never need to use it, but when you do, it’s worth its weight in gold.”

Potter has been teaching women’s self-defense for a decade. She first started classes to protect herself.

“I work at the hospital and have to go in late at night on call and wanted to make sure that I was safe,” she said.

Now every week, Potter invites women into the studio to teach them how to do the same. 

Potter has heard about the recent crimes against women in her city, making this upcoming class extra timely. Less than a month ago, Winston-Salem Police said a man assaulted a woman while she was jogging on East Salem Avenue. Less than three weeks later, officers said a man walked into a store on Reynolda Road and raped a woman.

“It’s a shame that it’s something that females especially need to be concerned about,” said Potter.

Potter hopes to give women the tools to get out of a similar situation. Her portion of the free self-defense class will focus on moves like getting out of a headlock.

Then officers will give a presentation on situational awareness and safety strategies. Some of those are to let someone know where you’re going and when you’ll be back, park in well-lit areas and keep your hands free and eyes up when walking alone.

“Your attackers want an easy target,” said Potter. “If you’re aware of your surroundings, able to identify them and able to defend yourself a little bit, you’re not as easy as the target they’re going to want to someone else.”

These are tips Potter said can be helpful to women and girls of all ages who will be part of the upcoming class.

“We’re not out here to compete,” she said. “We’re not out here to fight, but we’re genuinely out here to learn and have a safe place to do it.”

The free self-defense class will be on Saturday, Oct. 14. It’s already full with more than 40 people signed up. Officers are looking at offering other dates.