How to Escape a Kidnapper
I don’t think any of our readers would ever like to think about the possibility of being kidnapped but I believe that it’s something we need to look at and devise an escape plan. We need to be prepared!
Kidnappings are generally pretty rare but that does not mean that it doesn’t happen. The threat is increased if you travel to certain countries and it happens enough that it’s useful to know how to escape a kidnapper.
There may be times when thwarting an abduction is impossible but during those times, the way you react and conduct yourself throughout the situation may just save your life.
We want you to learn, practice and memorize the information below and if you have children, make sure they too understand.
The First Few Seconds Count
During the first few seconds of an attempted abduction, you need to muster up everything that you have to fight back. Use everything you have, be aggressive and don’t be afraid to fight dirty.
Go for the eyes, the neck and the genitals as these are the most vulnerable areas on any person. Shout as loud as you can and make as much noise as possible. A kidnapper wants an easy target so show them that you are the opposite. If you have a whistle or pepper spray in the US, use it.
The aggressiveness and noise gives you a good chance of scaring off your abductor.
Why Have You Been Abducted?
The most important information that you can gather is the reason behind the kidnapping. By understanding this, you will know how much risk you should take in attempting to escape.
If it’s for ransom, you are worth more alive than dead and most victims of this survive. If you’ve been abducted by a sexual predator, or for political or military reasons, your life is at risk.
Look out for an increase in violence or a sign of desperation in your abductors. In these instances, you must try to escape even if your chances are not good.
During the first 24 hours you are likely to be moved around a lot in order to make it harder for you to be found.
You want to feign compliance so that the abductor doesn’t see a need to use extra restraints. This means that you need to appear submissive and willing to do as you are told. Avoid eye contact and keep your head down.
This tactic may make your abductors drop their guard leading to holes opening up in their security.
Never try to break out restraints or remove a blindfold unless you are completely sure that you have a good chance of escaping.
If you have a blindfold on, this could be a sign that your abductor doesn’t want you to see their identity and may have plans to release you.
It will be frightening but you must try to remain calm. If you stay calm, there is a good chance the abductor will also stay calm.
Form a Bond
It may sound a little strange but you should try and build up a relationship with your kidnapper. Don’t insult or disagree with them. Be empathetic.
A kidnapper is less likely to cause you harm if they feel like they have some form of a bond with you. To this end, ask for small favours: a glass of water, something to eat, a newspaper. If they agree, thank them.
If in a Car, Try to Make Them Crash
As soon as you get into the car, your chances of survival drop dramatically, but that doesn’t mean that you should resign yourself to thinking that it is all over. Instead, think of this as motivation. You do not want to get to the secondary location, so you may need to do some desperate things.
In many kidnappings, the abductor will use a vehicle for getting you from one place to the next. If you’re the passenger in a car, and your hands aren’t bound, make it your priority to attack your abductor so they crash the car. This is highly dangerous and should only be attempted at slower speeds or if you are confident that they plan to kill you.
If you have been put into the trunk of a car, things get a little more difficult but you still have choices. If you’re lucky and it’s a newer car, some have glow-in-the-dark emergency release handles to open the trunk from the inside. If the car seats lay down, look for knobs or pull-straps.
If you cannot use the emergency handle to open the trunk, kick at the right back or left back side the trunk. You are attempting to kick out the tail lights so that you can fit an appendage through the opening. Damaging the tail light or reaching through it will alert other drivers and police to the issue.
When the car is stopped, make your move. You can also look for a heavy item, like a car jack under the carpet in the spare tire well, and attempt to wedge the back of the trunk open.
Observe and Memorize
By observing your surroundings, you can better plan an escape. Additionally, it may help you guide police to the area if you escape, but there are other captives still hostage.
If you’re blindfolded, use your other senses to gather information. Count turns and stops, and take note of the speed the vehicle is traveling. Are there exits you can discern? Any small piece of information may be extremely handy at any point during a kidnapping.
How many of them are there? What do they look like? Do they have obvious accents? Are they armed?
If There’s a Rescue Attempt
If you have been lucky enough to be traced, there will more than likely be a rescue attempt. Don’t assume it’s all over as this is actually the most dangerous moment in the whole ordeal.
You might be used as a human shield. Your rescue team will almost certainly be using firearms. Get down on the ground and cover your head.
Upon entering, your rescuers will not necessarily know who is a hostage and who is an abductor. Do exactly what you’re told and be prepared for rough treatment while they establish who’s who.
Restraints come in many forms but once kidnapped, your abductor is going to try to subdue you. Below, we are going to look at some of the more common methods of restraining a kidnap victim, along with how to escape.
Handcuffs are a tough restraint to escape from but are by no means impossible. Luckily, by preparing in advance, you can make sure that you already have the right materials which can easily be purchased online. a few items to consider include:
- Handcuff keys
- Handcuff key aglets (shoelace caps)
- Handcuff shims
- Rings that conceal shims
Shims are not difficult to use but it will still require practice beforehand. All you need to do is slip the thin metal shim between the teeth of the single strand and the locking pawl. The metal barrier between these two part of the cuffs will allow the handcuffs to be pulled open.
If you have neither a key or a shim, try to find a thick piece of metal that can be bent to a 90-degree angle, and that will fit in the keyway. This will allow you to pick the lock. Turn the bent piece of metal in the keyway, and if it is strong enough, you will depress the locking pawl and release the teeth of the handcuffs. But be sure that the double lock is disengaged first.
If the handcuffs have a double locking mechanism, be sure to insert a pin shaped length of metal into the double locking hole. With this double lock depressed, the locking pawl can now move when you pick the keyway of the lock.
Here is a couple of videos to get you started on escaping handcuffs.
The great thing about a kidnapper using ropes is that most people are actually pretty poor when it comes to tying a knot. You can use their lack of knowledge to your advantage. The first thing you need to do to escape rope restraints is present your hands properly.
Remember how we mentioned earlier about feigning compliance? It starts here when you are being restrained. Act like you are not resisting as you present your hands to be tied. Make two fists and point your knuckles toward the kidnapper. Press your fingers together and make sure to point your knuckles up toward your kidnapper’s eyes. This will help to conceal the gap that you have made between your arms.
The closer you can keep your fists to your stomach, the wider you can keep your gap. Once you are left alone, you can twist your wrists back and forth (one away and one toward your chest). This will widen the gap further. Then slip lengths of the rope off your hands. Repeat until you can remove the ropes entirely.
Here is a video for escaping rope restraints.
We have covered escaping duct tape here before but will also add the information in this post. With rope, you want to get your elbows as far apart as possible but with duct tape you want to do the opposite. You need to keep your elbows close together. This makes sure that the duct tape is nice and tight. That tightness will be your means of escape.
Once the duct tape is on, raise your hands over your head and slam them down, bringing your elbows to your ribs. You really need to swing hard, but that pressure will be enough to overwhelm the duct tape.
If the duct tape is around your legs, place your palms together (like you would in prayer). Then shove your fingers between the duct tape as hard and fast as you can. This forces your legs to widen and will break the tape.
If your wrists are taped to the arms of a chair, you want to pull your fists toward your chest. Remember to use strong and fast movements, but it is really that easy to get out of duct tape. Though it might demoralize you to be tied up in this way, escape is not that difficult.
Finally we are going to take a look at zip ties which uses a very similar escape method as the duct tape. However, you can tighten your zip ties, and should to increase success. But to add a little bit of flavor to this section, I will describe how to escape when you are zip tied behind your back.
Make sure that the zip ties are as tight as possible. Lift your arms up away from your torso. Bring your hips back like you are bending over. Thrust your hips as you pull your wrists back toward your torso, and the zip ties will break.
Check out the following videos:
Be sure that you have some idea as to why you were targeted which will better help you to understand the risk. Knowing how to get out of restraints is important to escape any type of unlawful detainment or kidnapping. From there, just follow some basic advice. It’s not going to be easy but never give up.