Kidnapping, which is the act of taking somebody away illegally and keeping them as prisoners or hostages, especially in order to get ransom or other benefits before they are released, is evidently giving us cause for concern now. Kidnapping is a serious offence. In fact, in some states of the federation, kidnapping is now considered a capital offence, that is, an offence that is punishable by death. As the Police and other critical stakeholders are doing everything humanly possible to combat it, we are on our own proffering few tips on some of the ways not only to avoid being kidnapped but also on how to survive when you are unfortunately kidnapped. To avoid being kidnapped, you may consider adopting some of the following security tips:
* Do not work-out, drive, go to work or take children to school using the same route all the time especially where you have alternate routes. This is because felons may rely on your routines to track you down and look for a time when you are most vulnerable to strike.
*Do not accept rides offered by strangers, because you would be at their mercy if they turn out to be kidnappers.
* Always let someone know your whereabouts or where you are going. Give the name and other useful information of the person you are going to meet, in case of any eventuality.
*Do not accept drinks, gums, cigarettes, and food from anybody you are not familiar with. You could easily be drugged and taken hostage.
* Teach the children not to accept gifts from persons they are not familiar with. It is however important we do this with utmost care so as not to make our children become paranoid.
* Do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself, especially by making public donations or appearing flashy or spraying money carelessly at events. Note that even when musicians and praise-singers are praising you to high heavens during such events, they may unwittingly be attracting unscrupulous elements to you.
* Be familiar with your surroundings; also know your neighbors as these are critical to your personal safety and well-being. Remember the case of Evans, the billionaire kidnapper who lived in a beautiful estate in Lagos for years yet none within the neighborhood had an inkling that they were living with the “most wanted kidnapper” in Nigeria until he was apprehended by the Police.
* Identify Police Stations, barracks and other security zones that are close to your residence or place of work in case of any exigency.
* Ensure you have Control Room numbers of relevant security agencies especially the ones nearest to you in case of emergencies.
*Make sure you secure your home. You could do this by:
– Simulating human presence especially when you are alone in the house or you feel insecure.
–Activating home security such as alarm system, CCTV if any.
–At night ensure that your home is well-lit.
– When in the house, ensure your doors are properly shut/locked especially at night or whilst alone.
* It is important that you do a thorough background check on your domestic staff such as your drivers, nannies, cooks, gardeners, and cleaners etc before you employ them.
– Study their change in lifestyle, the company they keep and their whereabouts at all times.
– Persons employed as drivers for school-runs must constantly be monitored as experience has shown that some drivers connive with criminals to facilitate the kidnap of innocent children.
– Treat your staff fairly with utmost decency and care. This is important to win their trust and loyalty and reduce the chance of criminals infiltrating them and leveraging them to harm you.
* Always exercise caution especially while on the social media platforms. It is important that you minimize posting of sensitive information and pictures such as:
– Your financial transactions
– Your whereabouts or location.
– Pictures of your family etc that could readily give you out to would-be felons.
*When you notice a threat in any form, quickly attract the attention of people around, either by shouting, screaming or running away etc, when it is safe to do so.
* Always be vigilant. Ensure you have airtime on your phone and that the phone is nearby in case you may have to make an urgent call.
* Drive defensively, especially at night or when you are on a lonely and dangerous road or you suspect that you are being followed by suspected kidnappers. Even when you have a punctured tyre, manage it to a safer place. It is better to lose the wheel of your car than to be taken hostage.
* There is security in numbers! Always ensure that when you engage in work outs, jogging, walking, biking, running etc, you do so in concert with others. You are less likely to be attacked when you are amongst people than when alone.