In many parts of the world, kidnapping human beings and ransoming them back to their family is seen as a legitimate business. Places like Nigeria, Iraq, Latin America, and southeast Asia all have far higher rates of kidnapping and extortion than the rest of the world. It’s gotten to be such a problem that many larger corporations take out kidnapping and ransom insurance on employees operating in high-risk areas.
For the rest of us that can’t afford kidnapper’s insurance, there are a few simple precautions that you can take to make yourself a much less tempting target for any would-be kidnappers. Here are five things you can do to avoid being abducted.
Maintain Situational Awareness At All Times
Maintaining situational awareness mostly comes down to being aware of your surroundings and constantly making mental calculations in every situation you find yourself in. This means knowing the exit routes in every building or locality you find yourself in, being aware of who’s around you, and avoiding dark alleys or parking lots. Never wear items that might impair your senses (like wearing headphones to listen to music) and always lock your doors and windows when you bed down for the night. Always carry a cell phone.
Be Heavy And/Or Strong
You’ve seen the humorous t-shirt that says “fat people are harder to kidnap”? Well, it’s true. Abductions often involve physically moving the victim from one place to another, and if that victim is 300 pounds it’s a lot harder to shove them into the back of a van. Bodybuilders also have a natural advantage as they’re still huge but also extremely powerful, making it far more difficult for any potential abductor to overcome them.
Don’t Go To Places Where Kidnapping Is A Problem
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but if you actively avoid countries where kidnapping is seen as a legitimate way to acquire foreign investment you won’t have to worry about being kidnapped. If you are in a foreign country where there’s a risk of kidnapping, read local newspapers about where that risk is greatest, or stay in touch with your embassy to get local reports on where there’s the greatest risk of kidnapping.
Prepare To Resist - To A Degree
Avoiding kidnapping often comes down to being a pain in the behind to kidnap. Being enormously heavy or strong can obviously be a huge headache for potential kidnappers, but so can having a can of mace. Or you can take some self-defense courses, bring a collapsible baton, and just go feral and start biting and clawing at your kidnapper’s face.
The only exception to this rule is if you find yourself surrounded by men with guns where there’s realistically no hope of escape and any resistance will just get you killed. In that case, it’s better to throw up your hands and go willingly with your kidnappers.
Don’t Travel Alone
While abductions of multiple people do happen, most kidnappings happen to individuals traveling alone. So travel with a buddy, or a local tour guide, a tour group, or even hire protection. If you have to travel alone, try to always go places where there are lots of people so you can make a scene if someone tries to abduct you.