It is questionable whether violence toward a hostage varies according to criminal or radical orientation of their kidnappers who hold them for ransom. This notion is important because it relates to the assumption that how the hostage is treated may indicate whether the victim may survive the ordeal. To investigate, 181 kidnappings cases were cross-tabulated with 4 previously identified violent tactics (inflicting pain, terror, psychological torture, and reward tactics) and 3 distinctive types of kidnappers (common criminal, organized criminal, and radical/terrorist groups). The results indicated that criminal groups tended to use a range of violent tactics to coerce a hostage in captivity, while radical groups more often specialized in psychological torture. Regardless of these observations, specific forms of violence, for example inflicting pain, provided a better indication of whether the hostage would be killed by his or her kidnappers. This suggests that the intensity of violence and not the type of group conducting the kidnapping indicates whether the hostage will be killed. The implications to the social organization of kidnapping groups are discussed further. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.