How to Survive if You’ve Been Taken Hostage
Although you’ve probably never pictured yourself — or wanted to picture yourself — the victim of a kidnapping or in a hostage situation, the truth is, it can —and does— happen. Your best defense should this ever happen to you is preparation.
So, how do you escape a hostage situation?
If You Are Taken Hostage:
- Stay calm, polite, and cooperative with your captors. Some people may have the natural instinct to fight their hostage takers, spit on them, call them names, etc., but this will only aggravate them and entice them to be more violent with you.
- Don’t invade your captor’s personal space by touching them or challenging them.
- Don’t draw attention to yourself with sudden body movements, comments, or hostile looks — these types of movements will aggravate the hostage-taker.
- Instead, sit quietly and observe your captors in as much detail as possible. Memorize their physical traits, how they talk, any detectable accent, what they sound like, what they’re wearing, and anything else that will help you provide a description later. Observing your captor’s behaviors, patterns, and routines will also help you strategically plan your escape.
- Try and establish a friendly dialogue with your captors and get to know them. Ask them questions about themselves. They are less likely to hurt you if they respect you. This may lead to a negotiated release.
- Once you have a good idea of your captor’s routine, and you have assessed the situation, and an opportunity has arisen to escape, take it.
- After observing your captor, their physical size and shape, if you feel like you could reasonably win a fight against them and a chance arises, take it. Fight in any way you can — hitting, kicking, biting, scratching, etc. Aim for your kidnapper’s eyes, nose, groin, and throat. A fight also presents a good chance to escape because the moment is hectic, your kidnapper will be taken off guard, and there’s a good chance someone will see the commotion and call the police.
- If you are in a public space, stop for gas, or anything where someone could hear you, yell! Draw attention to the situation by yelling “help!” “Call the police!” Or even “Fire!” Even if onlookers aren’t able to rescue you, they are likely to contact the authorities and provide details about your kidnapper’s appearance, car, etc.
- If the police have arrived to rescue you, don’t run. Drop to the ground and stay still. Wait for instructions from authorities. There will likely be live fire, and sudden movements and running may cause you to get shot.
- Even if you are handcuffed and searched, do not resist. The confusion will clear once the authorities can establish you are, in fact, the hostage. Patience pays off.
If You Hear or See Someone Being Taken Hostage:
- First and foremost, remove yourself from danger by walking away, going inside your locked car or a building with lots of people around.
- Don’t take it upon yourself to intervene and attempt to fight the kidnapper or pull the hostage from their arms.
- Silently observe the hostage-taker and any distinguishing physical characteristics and accents. If you can, take pictures discretely of them.
- Instead, call 911 and explain what you’ve witnessed. Give 911 your location, how many possible hostage-takers are involved, physical descriptions of the hostage-takers, any weapons you saw, and your name and phone number.
We Can Help
If you’ve recently been charged with kidnapping, hostage, ransom, or any related crimes, contact Seppi Esfandi today. Seppi Esfandi has practiced Criminal Defense in Los Angeles for over 22 years in Greater Los Angeles. When you need an experienced criminal defense attorney, you need Seppi Esfandi. Find out what you’re up against and what we can do with an HONEST, FREE CONSULTATION.
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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 21 years of practice defending a variety of cases.