KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As of March 3, 2018, Kansas City recorded 17 homicides. Almost a quarter of those are women, according to official reports.
Yet the Kansas City Police Department is helping women who refuse to be the next victim.
Major Diane Mozzicato walks around the gym in South Patrol's multi-purpose building. She sees women hitting huge blue body pads, and hears the sound of flesh hitting mats.
"We found a need to educate the public on how to become safe," she said Saturday, "on how not to become a victim."
She continued, "You can do simple things to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. That's where this class was born."
That class now meets every month, giving every woman in the metro a chance to be her own hero. Or, at least, to not be a victim.
"It's better to be more prepared than not prepared," said Sheila Enriquez. She came to the class with her supervisor. Both women work in sales.
"So we can learn some different techniques," Enriquez said. "With being in the sales field, if we ever encountered any of these issues, we could at least feel better prepared for any circumstance."
Kansas City police have hosted thousands of these classes over the years, and hundreds of thousands of participants. Enrollment peaks when certain things happen in the metro. When Kelsey Smith disappeared in 2007 and when the Indian Creek Trail murders happened in 2017. Maj. Mozzicato says class attendance spiked.
Kansas City Police started the class after a rash of purse snatchings in 1994, before some of these women were born.
"I think that this could be important for everybody," said 17 year old Catie Janeszko, who was there with her softball team. "Because everybody needs to be able to protect themselves."
Enriquez, the sales person there with her boss, ended the session with a smile.
"I love it, I love it," she said. "And I plan on telling everyone I know about the class and there's something in it for literally everybody."
The sessions happen the first Saturday of every month. The next one is set for April 7 in the Northland. You can register here; keep in mind that registration is limited to 50.