Kidnapping For Ransom
Dear community member,
There have been several high-profile kidnappings recently and these have been very well publicised. We have been approached by members of our community to ask whether this should be of concern and whether anything should be done.
From a security perspective, risk means that more can happen than will happen and it is better to be informed and prepared than not. While we have no information that our community is being particularly targeted by kidnappers for ransom, we have, out of an abundance of caution, put out this advisory to assist you in being aware, prepared, and safe.
Be vigilant and situationally aware.
- Although kidnapping for ransom is rare, it does happen from time to time. Consequently, one should not become paranoid about this but rather more vigilant to one’s surroundings.
- Generally, perpetrators of this type of crime will learn as much as possible about their target leading up to the kidnapping.
- Should you, your family or your staff notice any suspicious vehicles, people, or activities, do not ignore this. You are advised to report your concerns to the authorities, the CSO and if you have, to your security company. It is advisable that you raise your level of awareness and consider increasing your security.
- It is recommended that you download a family tracking app for those close to you to be able to track your phone in an emergency. It is suggested that you do not inform anyone outside of your immediate family that a tracking app is installed.
- Give someone you trust your vehicle details and your vehicle tracking company details, a recent picture of you and your family, your ID numbers and any other personal information that could be useful in finding you.
Things You can do to make yourself an unattractive target:
Break your Routine.
We recommend that you:
- Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked. An important fact to note is that opening your windows about 2 centimeters makes it harder for them to be smashed.
- Do not draw attention to yourself by flaunting wealth.
- Do not post personal information, including anything about your current or future location, on any social media platforms.
- Do not have social media accounts without adequate privacy protection and do not accept friend requests from persons you do not know.
- Break your daily routine by making changes to your schedule, travel routes and parking spots.
- Do not get distracted by your phone, searching for things in your boot or by a stranger approaching you to “ask for directions”, etc.
- A moving vehicle is much harder to target than a stationary one.
- If you feel unsafe or believe you are being followed, drive to a safe place, a police station or flag down a security vehicle. At the same time, call a family member or a trusted friend to inform them of where you are and what you perceive is happening.
- Ensure your home security systems such as alarms, panic buttons, electric fences, CCTV cameras, exterior lighting etc. are working effectively and are checked regularly.
To Do If you’re kidnapped!
Keep calm and cooperate.
- Unless this results in an imminent threat to your life, DO EXACTLY AS YOU ARE TOLD.
- Keep your hands still and visible to give the kidnappers the assurance of your passive intent.
- The best opportunity for escape is at the start of the attack, during the confusion and while you are still in a public place.
- If this is not possible or too risky, you should try draw attention to your situation and make other people aware a crime is occurring.
- It is important not to become aggressive or lose your temper.
- Do not make direct eye-contact with the kidnappers, unless ordered to do so.
- Do not give into panic or despair.
- You may be held for a while, so do not become a burden. Try to build a relationship with the kidnappers without becoming too familiar.
- Your senses may be deprived, such as a blindfold or gag being used to prevent you from seeing or talking. This may be exceptionally frightening. Try to stay composed and try to keep track of time and movement.
Keeping your children safe.
Educate your children in age appropriate way.
- Always ensure that you or a trusted adult is in eyesight of your younger children and make them aware that they should always try to be in eyesight of you or a trusted adult.
- Always be vigilant and aware of unusual people watching or approaching your children.
Older children must be taught to be vigilant, keep their distance from suspicious strangers and not to congregate outside of shopping centers, school, sports facilities, and Shuls.
- Except in case of an emergency, advise your children not to use their cell phone, Apps or earphones, whilst standing in an open area or waiting to be picked up. These distractions reduce their situational awareness.
- Teach your children to never walk off with strangers, regardless of their story. If they are uncomfortable in any situation – even if their parents / guardians are next to them, to scream and shout to draw attention to themselves.
- Children must be taught who is considered a “safe person” and who is not.
For more information or to report suspicious activity please contact the CSO on 086 18 000 18