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When the Nightmare Becomes Real - Extortion by Kidnapping

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 30 Issue: 1 Dated: (January 1986) Pages: 50-55
J W Kennish
Date Published
6 pages
Programs to counter the kidnapping threat for bank employees should address threat awareness, prevention, response procedures, and hostage behavior.
Types of threats include kidnapping employees from their homes or enroute to work to secure a ransom or extort money from the bank as well as an actual or false claim that family members of bank executives have been kidnapped for ransom. The latter ploy is a bluff that depends on bank executives believing extortioners. The threat of actual and faked kidnappings can be prevented by restricting bank employee information available to nonemployees and by training employees to be aware of persons conducting systematic surveillance of their movements. Should an extortion call be received, it should be treated as legitimate until evidence indicates it is a hoax. The deadline for making the payment should be delayed until the legitimacy of the claim can be established. Predetermined procedures for handling a legitimate kidnapping should specify the response of all bank employees, including the hostage. The hostage should generally comply with the kidnappers' instructions, make mental notes of movements and kidnapper characteristics, and not attempt escape unless the odds for success are high.


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