Students discuss safety in the wake of Tibbetts' death

Published: Aug. 22, 2018 at 10:13 PM CDT
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Tibbetts' hometown of 1,400 people seemed like an unlikely place for a murder to take place. But experts warn violence can happen anywhere.

College student Meredith Larsen told 6 News being aware of your surroundings is your best defense. It’s something she learned from a self-defense trainer last year. She says it helps her stay aware while walking to her night class.

After 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts body was found Tuesday, it sparked a conversation with Meredith's friends about safety.

“One friend texted me and said 'they found her.' We talked of ways of defending ourselves,” Meredith told 6 News.

Police say Tibbetts was running alone when police say she was abducted. It's something she had done before in the small town. It was a place where everyone knows everyone. The same could be said about a trail in Elmwood Park that is frequented by UNO students like Anastasia Borne.

Borne told 6 News she feels secure. She said “We do have those blue lights. If you press button authorities will be notified and security is always roaming campus. There are lots of security guards.”

She took a Marshall Arts Class, much like the kind Thomas Todd teaches at Championship Martial Arts.

“Over 40 percent of women are getting cat called or harassed while running,” said Todd.”Pepper spray, get trained on how to use it. A whistle and your phone. Those are your three main things and your awareness.”

If that doesn't work, he teaches four main pressure points: eye, nose, throat and groin.

“It can equalize a fight when someone who is 110 lbs to 200 lbs,” he said.

Todd says if something looks off, go with your gut. He says do not be afraid to call the police and give a description or paint a scene of what is happening that is making your feel uncomfortable.