Five Ways to Foil a Kidnapping

Imagine that a dastardly villain is out to kidnap you. Perhaps he’s a ruthless serial killer who’s been foiling police for years and is now out to make you the latest victim in his complicated plot. Or maybe he’s a Victorian count set on whisking you off to his private castle and forcing you to be his bride.

What will he need to snatch you up and carry you away? More importantly, how can you foil his evil plot?

  1. Throw a Wrench in Their Plans

Know the biggest difference between you and the person suddenly throwing a bag over your head and dragging you into the bushes? You’re surprised. For them, everything is going according to plan.

Kidnappers tend to be prepared. Serial killers sometime spend years slowly working their way up to their first murder.

Maybe they’ve been stalking one specific target for months or maybe they’ve just been staking out a target-rich environment—like a playground—waiting for the right opportunity.

So, be unpredictable. Do you always jog the exact same route? Do you always stand on the same Scottish moor at sundown? Change it up. Don’t let them work you into their schedule.

  1. Give Them No Place to Hide

From antique wardrobes to dark back alleys, hiding places are a very important part of the villain’s toolbox. Take a threat-assessment walk around your chateau, high school, or suburban neighborhood and ask yourself where a potential ne’er-do-well would hide. Is there a hedge that needs to be trimmed back? A parking lot that could use a bright floodlight? A crop of creepy mannequins that should really be moved into storage? Sometimes the difference between a danger zone and a safe place is as simple as taking away any opportunity for evil to lurk.

  1. Block Off Their Escape

Take a second and imagine where you’d hide next time you wanted to commit a crime. Did you remember to include an escape route? A giant jack-in-the-box in the middle of town might sound good but once you’ve popped out and grabbed the chief of police, how do you whisk him off to your lair? From helicopters to horses to creepy white vans, escape vehicles have always had an important role in abducting people. That’s one reason why parking lots are so dangerous: they’re the perfect combination of having places to hide and ways to escape.

You can’t kidnap someone if you can’t carry her off. Even if you’re simply grabbing a wallet or snatching a purse, you don’t want to get stuck waiting around for an elevator. So while you’re kidnap-proofing your world, ask yourself—if someone attacked me right now, where would he escape? Neighborhoods have cut down on crime by changing how traffic flows, and schools have been made safer by changing how easy it is to walk out the front door.

  1. Anything Can Be A Weapon

Look around you and count off how many weapons you can find. Are you sitting on a chair? Use it to knock a knife out of your kidnapper’s hands. Are you reading on a laptop? Hold it tight with both hands and knock him across the face. Hot cups of coffee, kettles of boiling water, and beakers of homemade brew can be thrown. Purses, backpacks, belts, jackets… almost anything can be whipped around in front of you to keep someone at bay, especially if he’s holding a knife. (Don’t believe me? Ask the person sitting next to you to smack you in the face repeatedly with his or her laptop bag and see how long it takes you to step back. Go on. I’ll wait). Objects are great equalizers, especially against knives. Even if all it does is buy you a few moments of time, those could be the moments that make the difference between life and death, especially if at the same time you’re also using the most important weapon of all—your voice, to shout and scream for help.

  1. Never Stop Fighting

Now that the person beside you is eyeing you suspiciously, take a moment to look them over and consider just how many vulnerabilities his body has. Eyes are obvious ones. Get him good in the eyes with your fingers, book of poetry, or Secret Service ID card and you’ll have a few moments to bolt and run while his eyes turn into mini waterfalls. A hard shot to the nose doesn’t just make it bleed; it also makes the eyes water, getting a good two-for-one defense. Clapping both ears at once is deafening, painful, and can do real damage. Any single body joint that’s used to moving one direction can be wrenched hard the other way. One of the best defenses against groping is to grab one offending finger and bend it both directions at once. Not to mention the old standard of kicking a criminal hard where it hurts.

Bottom line: remember that you matter and that your safety is important to those who care about you and the kingdom you might one day rule. And while there might always be evildoers lurking in the shadows, with a bit of observation, planning, and courage, you and those you love can live to fight another day.


Maggie K. Black Biography:

Maggie K. Black is the award-winning author of over a dozen romantic suspense books and teaches self-defense at her local dojo. She will be teaching a seminar on Practical Self-Defense Against Assault and Violence for Yourself and Your Characters at the 2018 Romance Writers of America Conference. Look for her latest book, The Littlest Target, out now.

The numbering system/sequence of “tips” seems off…maybe just include the list, without numbers?