Concord police Capt. Doug Wilhelm points at the three women lined up next to him in Laurel Park's neighborhood clubhouse.
Two are grandmothers. The third is a young mother of two.
"These are the predators," he says to another line of women facing the first three.
"When I say 'go,' GO!"
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What ensues is a mock assault between the half-dozen women. The "predators" give chase, sneakers squeaking across the tiled floor, arms reaching in an all-out rumble reminiscent of "West Side Story" if it had occurred in the suburbs.
"There you go! You made it," Wilhelm tells victims who reach the wall without being tagged by attackers.
Wilhelm has spent the better part of an hour showing these women how to avoid dangerous situations as they go about their daily lives. The class is part of a self-defense series offered through the city's police department.
Sgt. Edie Moss, who heads the Concord department's Community Services Unit, arranges the classes for organizations like neighborhood watch groups. Each class is specifically tailored to its members, from seniors to women-only groups.
For tonight's ladies-only class, hosted by Laurel Park Neighborhood Watch, Moss has asked Wilhelm to teach the group the most effective tips he has seen during his 21-year career in law enforcement.
"Through my years of investigations, I have evaluated and looked at how folks have become victims," Wilhelm tells the women. "The majority of folks who became victims of crime never thought it would happen to them."
The majority didn't think crime would creep so close to their backyards, either. A rash of recent robberies at a grocery store less than a mile from Laurel Park has some residents on edge.
"No place is safe anymore," said Alicia Wanish, who lives in the Cobblestone section of Laurel Park, an area with a high concentration of retired people. Wanish grew up an hour-and-a-half from New York City, and said the potential to become a victim is just as real now in the suburbs. "Crime is everywhere. You have to be vigilant no matter where you live," she said.
Wilhelm agrees: "What makes up a crime is the offender, a suitable victim and a place without an audience."
Criminals wait for victims who are alone and look vulnerable, similar to predators and prey in the wild, he said.
"When you see the wolves following the herd, they can't attack the whole herd. What they want is to find the weakest part that won't give a fight," said Wilhelm. "They want the one they can easily take and gain control of."
That one, he said, is the one who goes to the ATM at night, parks deep out in the parking lot, or simply doesn't pay attention to surroundings.
"Those who say there is strength in numbers, it is very much true," said Wilhelm, who recommends running errands with friends, parking close to stores, and staying within sight of others.
"If there's other people around, there's interference," he said. "It's hard for (criminals) to do what they want to do, whether it be (to) assault you and take your pocketbook or ... take you from crime scene one to crime scene two, where you're never seen alive again."