What to do in a kidnapping situation (The Family)

mala noticiaIn a kidnapping situation, both the victim and his/her family need to assume positions that favor a successful conclusion to this traumatic experience. G4S Venezuela offers a few important recommendations on what to do in case you are a victim of this abominable crime:

What should the family do

  • Report the kidnapping.
  • Be discrete about the event, tell only your immediate family.
  • Obtain assistance from specialists in negotiation and leave a single family member in charge of the whole process.
  • Remain calm.
  • Limit your phone contacts to avoid leaks of information.
  • Don’t carry out investigations on your own.
  • Don’t get carried away by rumors.
  • Don’t make quick decisions.
  • Don’t pay a ransom without proof of life.
  • Consider kidnapping is usually about money and not personal vendetta.
  • Once your family members have been released, have them checked by a doctor; then listen to them and don’t push them to talk about their time in captivity.
  • The whole family should start therapy.
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Be alert, assess your surroundings and foresee your responses

AlertaThe traditional concept of security was associated to reaction when facing a crime or maintaining the order however, in time, it has been necessary to go from reaction to prevention by acting over the causes of crime and not only, over its elements. As it has been demonstrated, the matters of security cannot be reduced only to criminality issues. “It is about something more complex that is related to issues of sanity, the environment, urbanism and education. It is the consequence of growing inequalities in the access to the resources”, explains Maria del Carmen Llanos, psychotherapist and organizational behavior consultant specialized in citizen security.

Understanding the process

The decision not to become a victim is a “responsibility” of each individual as the best defense will be “self-protection.” We must be aware of our surroundings, be on alert and use our common sense. The criminal will always choose the victim that will provide the best chance for a successful attack, acting over confidently, and using both physical and verbal violence. The delinquent will use the surprise factor, carry a gun, take some drugs and will generally be with company. There must be an observational and analyzing process as this will help him / her identify the environmental and architectural elements that will create the conditions for committing criminal acts.

At home and with the family

Keep a telephone directory for emergencies within reach. Do not give information about your home or office without careful consideration. Keep your neighbors contacts within reach and tell your family about it so they can contact you in case of an emergency. Family members should be taught how to deal with strangers that have no proper identification. Do not give confidential information regarding travel or business in the presence of strangers. Make sure that all the doors, windows and gates are locked before leaving your house. If you go out, leave the lights on and the phone unplugged. Do not leave your mail in the mailbox for long periods of time and do not leave a message on your answering machine telling the callers that you will be out. Teach your children how to call the police if unknown people or marauders surround the house, or attempt to break and enter such place.

In the street

Walk aware of everything that goes on around you (360º attention). It is essential that you analyze the behavior of any suspicious individual nearby. When noticing a strange situation, walk away from it or change directions.

The delinquents are enemies of distances because they need to “close spaces” in order to attack. Keep yourself at least 20m from any suspect. Remember: “the criminal will need to come close enough to attack you.”

In the vehicle

Do not put stickers that may show you as user of a specific brand. Also, avoid putting stickers that may give hints about the number of members in your family, or which school or club you frequently visit with your children. Drive with the windows closed and locks on. If you notice any suspect, do not slow down or stop, go to the nearest police station or to a place with a lot of people. Do not use any accessories that may call the attention of delinquents. Smartphones tend to be an easy target and even wedding bands because of the gold they may represent in terms of money.

In a parking lot

Whether it is the mall or the supermarket, do not leave your car in the street. Inside the parking lot, make sure the car is locked and the alarms are activated. Do not leave any valuables inside. If someone is surrounding your car, get help from the security staff. Avoid lonely and dark places.

Personal and Family Security

FamiliaThe news about violent crimes in the main cities of the nation, are usually in the minds of Venezuelan residents. The authority’s ability to stop this crime wave is quite questionable, and most people feel highly exposed and at risk in the concrete jungle where predators threaten to attack anytime, anywhere. The crime rate is outrageous for both locals and visitors, and there doesn’t seem to be any possible short term improvement. But, it’s worth wondering: Are we doing everything we can to avoid becoming victims of a criminal attack? Do we know what to do? How to act when facing an attacker to try and mitigate the damages? If we can’t count on an efficient response from the authorities, then it’s necessary for us to generate individual and collective active and passive measures to protect our personal integrities.

Looking to contribute with that purpose, in this and upcoming issues we will touch on personal and family safety issues, however, we must warn you that our suggestions are not the only recipes, and it will be each person’s judgment, experience and personal knowledge, properly combined with a good dose of serenity, what will ultimately generate efficient results to overcome the tensions of being victims of a criminal action.

Protect your family: prepare a family security plan

Our home is our sanctuary, the center of our personal universe, a “controlled environment” we constantly try to strengthen with active and passive security measures to protect our loved ones. But, once out of the house, they are no longer under our protective cloak, becoming exposed, and then it is luck and whatever knowledge they may have about personal security what will allow them to foresee unsafe situations in order to avoid becoming victims of criminal attacks. To help protect our family in this context, the best defense is to make them aware of the dangers they are exposed to, so they can anticipate themselves to any potential danger in order to plan their actions for whenever they may need them.

We recommend having a family meeting to talk about the most frequent crimes that take place in our cities, which we are exposed to: armed robbery, kidnapping, armed burglary and extortion. It is necessary to draw a security plan using the “WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF…” technique.

We know this is an unpleasant topic to discuss, but it is necessary to be clear about it in order to know what to do in a given opportunity. For instance, families can establish strategies and courses of action regarding what to do and say in case one of their members become the victim of an Express or Long-term kidnapping, who they should call first, what to say and not to say to the criminals, how to behave in front of the kidnappers, what attitude to assume, etc. It is also very important to develop an argumentative script to be consistent when the time comes in order to avoid ambiguities during the negotiation process, since a single slip could aggravate the situation. It is also recommended to know what to do in case of an extorting or threatening call, what to do to get “unhooked” from the extorter, and what precautions to take.

But, what do we need a tentative plan for? When we don’t have a plan and an attack takes place, we leave the resolution of every problem in the hands of our instinct and, what if we have the wrong reaction or our actions are inappropriate? The answer to this question is in the countless number of cases in which people have lost their lives due to inconvenient reactions in front of criminals who have no respect for human life or are simply so nervous they can’t control their reactions either. Having a plan, as simple as it may be, will give us confidence, will allow us to assess the situation and choose the best option when the times comes. But in order for the plan to work, it needs to be rehearsed, and that’s how families can turn such a delicate topic into an interesting activity.

It’s worth adding that a little training in personal security will always be very convenient, especially to add the knowledge of prevention and internalize it as a daily practice until it becomes a habit.

To develop a family security plan it is also convenient to consider the household members’ routines, the areas they frequent, the incidence of crime in such areas, and make them aware that crimes are not random, but somehow provoked by ourselves when we are unaware in unsafe environments, thus inviting criminals to attack; it is necessary to emphasize that before engaging, criminals make a cost/benefit analysis of attacking, weighing up their risks and their possible rewards, and they usually do not take risks against potential victims who look aware. Likewise, it is important to warn our loved ones who’ve developed some kind of skill in terms of personal defense that they shouldn’t risk confronting criminals like in the movies, since in real life, things rarely turn out the same, and there are countless cases of deaths due to resistance.

The planning process includes all the preventive measures to be taken in order to avoid becoming victims, so it is important to teach our loved ones how to detect whether they’re being followed and stimulate and sharpen their observation skills as well as orienting them about the precautions to be taken in parking lots -such as not parking next to cars with people inside- what to do if they see subjects with suspicious behaviors before parking or when walking back to their vehicles. When returning home, you should not try to enter if you see strangers in the driveway or building gates, take into account that it is from these places where most Express kidnappings occur. Agree upon communication protocols in imminent danger situations, for instance, if being followed, call the mobile of the family member who will surely pick up the phone, the person we’ve agreed to call to inform of our situation, where we are and to whom we will describe whoever’s allegedly following us (vehicle make and model, color, license, subjects’ descriptions, etc.).

Finally, it is necessary to insist that in order to protect our families, the best defense is to make them aware of all the risks they are exposed to, so to allow them to anticipate potential dangers and plan their actions for when it’s necessary.

A few tips for our children’s safety (III)

familiaIIIIn previous publications we presented the first and second parts of this important information that we advise you keep at hand and put in practice for the safety of your family. This third and last part complements the information with the following security recommendations:

MANHANDLING OR TOUCHING

  • Explain to your children that NO ONE should touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.
  • If this happens, they should let you know IMMEDIATELY.

INTERNET

  • Be acquainted with Internet and the services used by your children.
  • Teach your kids NOT to schedule personal meetings with other internet users without your permission.
  • Explain to them that they must NOT provide any kind of information about family, trips, pictures, assets, etc., in social networks.

EMERGENCY CONTACT

  • Choose a contact person, either a neighbor or a relative you and your children can trust to intervene in case of emergency.
  • The contact person must be an adult that lives close and is usually reachable.

KEEP THESE IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS CLOSE TO THE TELEPHONE

  • Mom’s and dad’s work.
  • A trusted neighbor.
  • A close relative or friend who lives or works nearby.
  • Police or private security.
  • Local fire department.
  • Medical emergency.

These are general recommendations to give the family knowledge on how to prevent the risks generated by the crime rate these days.

A few tips for our children’s safety (II)

niños celularYesterday we published the first part of this important information we advise you keep at hand and put in practice for the safety of your family. This second part complements the information with some security recommendations:

TAKE A STAND:

  • Know where your children are, what they’re doing and who they hang out with.
  • Listen to them and pay attention to their behavior and mental state.
  • Do not let your children visit other people’s houses without your permission.
  • Do not let them play on the street unless it’s in a safe environment.

A WORD ON CURIOSITY…

Do you keep objects in your house you don’t want your kids to touch? Take some time to talk to them about the consequences of:

  • Playing with guns and electric devices.
  • Ingesting medicine, alcoholic drinks and cleaning products.

NEVER LEAVE SMALL CHILDREN ALONE OR LOCKED INSIDE THE HOUSE. IF YOU MUST LEAVE THEM ALONE, TEACH THEM:

  • How to call an emergency response number.
  • How to give their address in case of emergency.
  • How to get in touch with you or a neighbor immediately after getting home.
  • Not to let anyone in the house without having asked for your permission.
  • To carry a house key in a safe place.
  • Not to enter the house if they notice something unusual going on.

A few tips for our children’s safety (I)

familiaWe at G4S Venezuela wanted to address some aspects related to our children’s safety and how to interact with them to keep them from becoming victims of a crime.

Many of the crimes involving families happen due to a lack of communication between parents and their children, especially pertaining security issues. Talk to your children, listen to them and follow these recommendations:

ARE YOUR CHILDREN READY TO FOLLOW THESE BASIC GUIDELINES?

  • Go straight home after school.
  • Use mobile phone and kitchenware responsibly.
  • Lock the doors.
  • Follow the rules and your parents’ instructions.
  • Face unexpected situations without panicking.
  • Do not be afraid when left alone.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

Talk these things over with them and listen carefully to their concerns and ideas. Reach an agreement with them regarding the rules for:

  • Inviting friends over.
  • Doing household chores.
  • Doing homework.
  • Watching TV.
  • Using the computer.

TEACH YOUR KIDS THE BASIC RULES OF SECURITY:

  • Not to come near strange vehicles.
  • Never to say they’re home alone or open the door to strangers.
  • Teach them what to do in case of fire or flood and who to call for help.
  • If they get lost or separated from you, tell them who to approach for help.
  • Tell them to yell and defend themselves in case someone tries to kidnap them.
  • Teach them not to take gifts from strangers or climb into vehicles of people they don’t know very well.