Personal Security: Express Kidnapping and Being Kidnapped.
Express kidnapping is a crime which has boomed over the last decade with incidents taking place globally, from Caracas to Vladivostok. Express kidnapping can be classed as a more comprehensive version of mugging.
Express kidnappings are safer and more convenient for criminals, who do not need to be highly skilled and connected to pull them off. In a typical kidnapping the criminals will usually go to a wealthy area and look for a suitable target, someone who looks like they have some money and then snatch them. Once they have the victim they’ll be robbed, taken to ATM’s, sexually assaulted etc. If the victim has a cell phone the criminals may use it to contact their family for a ransom, the amounts requested in express kidnappings tend to be low.
The main problems with express kidnappings are that the kidnappers are generally not what could be classed as high end criminals. This means they tend to be more violent and unpredictable than groups that target higher profile victims for large ransoms. As always, if ransoms are paid in express kidnappings there is no guarantee the victim will be released, especially if they can identify the criminals or have been sexually assaulted.
If you are caught in a kidnapping or hostage situation the most dangerous time will be is the first ten to fifteen minutes as the kidnappers will be very nervous and will have to let everyone know they are in control. If you’re being kidnapped you can expect to get hurt, pain makes people comply. In a group kidnapping or hostage taking it would be a good professional practice for the criminals to identify any group leaders or potential trouble-makers and execute them in front of the other hostages, as would give them the clear message of who was in control. There is also a high risk to those who have health problems such as high blood pressure or heart conditions; you need to keep calm.
Once it is clear that the kidnapping has been successful and you cannot safely escape you do not want to offer any resistance, just do as you are told. You can now expect to be blind-folded, bound and searched for cellular phones, identification, weapons and valuables. If you have a weapon, you should have a good excuse ready for having it. I have told clients who are going to the Middle East to join a couple of Muslim associations and carry the association membership cards and literature with them, hopefully if they are kidnapped this will lead to more favorable treatment. This tactic can be applied in most places, pretend to have sympathies with the local bad guys, it’s all about you staying alive!
You never want to appear to be a threat to your kidnappers and should comply with what they want you to do. This may be the opposite advice you would expect when you’re in a life threatening situation but suffering from broken ribs or a fractured skull will severely limit your ability to successfully escape. Think about it, who are the kidnappers going to put more security on, someone who is putting up a fight or someone who is having a nervous breakdown, you need to preserve your energy, look after your health to able to survive or escape.
If you don’t cause any problems for the kidnappers they should start to relax, this is when you should try creating personal relationships with them without overstepping any boundaries and always being aware of Stockholm Syndrome.