Here's What To Do If You're Kidnapped

Imagine you're rich and famous. You're walking down the street, maybe with your dog, just to show you're normal. You turn the corner and then suddenly there's a white van. People grab you and throw you into the car. Oh no, you've been kidnapped! What do you do?

Okay, dramatic recreations aside, getting kidnapped is a very real possibility for some people, though highly unlikely for many. But like many other dangerous situations, it pays to know some tips to keep yourself safe if you do find yourself kidnapped for whatever reason.

The first thing you have to remember, says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (yep, the people in charge of weather forecasts) is that you're of more value to your kidnappers alive. The chances of escaping though are better in the beginning while you're still in public. In the ensuing case, NOAA suggests kidnapping victims make as much commotion as possible to draw attention to themselves so even if they are unable to escape, someone can call the authorities immediately. Otherwise, it could take days before someone reports a missing person. 

Next, don't struggle and don't resist. Risk management company WorldAware says it's better to not antagonize your captors. There are tons of advice on how to remove bindings but many experts say it's safer not to try to escape. A failed attempt can lead to retaliation. Make sure you know understand that you might be moved a couple of times or that you might be drugged.

Don't try to be a hero and escape

Once you get to what could be your final holding place, start observing your surroundings (providing you're not blindfolded). NOAA writes it's important to notice details about the room, listen for sounds of activity and figure out if the place is near certain landmarks like the ocean or a street, and memorize the names, faces, rank, and patterns of behavior of your captors.

Modern Rouge explains humanizing yourself to kidnappers is important. Make them remember you're human. Ask for a drink of water or to go to the bathroom. Maybe even fart. Request items that increase your comfort, but don't complain — you're a kidnap victim, not a guest at a hotel. Talk to them about anything. Find something that they can relate to so they remember you're a victim and not target practice. But of course, be aware of Stockholm Syndrome. Do not be Patty Hearst. You might be held for a while, so WorldAware recommends staying active. Do stretches or small isometric exercises. Keep track of dates and times too. If you're with other hostages, devise a way to communicate with them.

And if you are in a rescue situation, NOAA has some more tips. Don't run and drop to the floor. Obey all the instructions they yell at you and don't be mad if they think you're one of the captors. Things are confusing so calm down and trust you'll be fine.

Prevent getting kidnapped in the first place

But of course, it's better if you don't get kidnapped at all.

According to WorldAware, make sure your surroundings are safe at all times. Before getting into your car, check if there's someone inside and that no one is hiding nearby waiting to grab you as you open your door. Park in well-lit areas and keep your doors locked and windows up at all times. Do not pick up hitchhikers and if you see an accident, report it through the phone.

If you're walking down a street, face oncoming traffic since it will be harder for someone in a vehicle to grab you. Be aware of your surroundings, try not to listen to music while walking and keep to highly trafficked areas. Avoid wearing clothing with long straps that a kidnapper can grab or shoes that are hard to run in. Most importantly, stay away from unfamiliar surroundings at night.

Yes, the possibility that you'll get kidnapped is slim, but you don't want to end up a story on Unsolved Mysteries now do you? As the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared.