crime trends

Virtual Kidnapping

Virtual Kidnapping 1000 1000 Greg Ellifritz

 

Virtual kidnapping is a growing trend.  Travelers (especially those traveling in Latin America) should understand how the process works and educate family members back home so they don’t get scammed.

 

The article linked below goes into some of the basics of how virtual kidnappings happen.

 

Virtual Kidnapping

 

If you want some additional information on the topic, check out my book.  I have an entire chapter on virtual and express kidnappings.

 

 

Motor Cycle Helmets are a Danger Cue

Motor Cycle Helmets are a Danger Cue 150 150 Greg Ellifritz

I was reading this article about an assassination that occurred in Peru last year.  The assassin walked into a barbershop and shot his victim in the head three times, killing him.  There was surveillance footage of the incident.  Take a look at the screen capture below.  What do you notice?

 

Who wears a motorcycle helmet inside a barbershop?

 

Here is a safety tip for any of you who plan on traveling in Latin America or Southeast Asia…..

 

Most criminals in these regions use small motorcycles to both to get to the crime scene and to escape. Motorcycles are easy to drive off road and through bottle necked traffic. The thieves escaping on a motorcycle can easily get away from cops pursuing in police cars.

 

The criminals wear motorcycle helmets both to conceal their identity and to protect their heads from any resistance from the victim or his friends. You need to be especially alert when you see either of these things:

 

1) Two dudes on the same motorbike, both wearing helmets, and both looking at you. This is how lots of robberies and purse snatchings go down in South America. The driver will drive up right next to you on the sidewalk, stop, and then stay on the bike. The passenger will hop off, jack you, and hop right back on. The driver will zip away and they will be gone before you know what happened.

Major street in Bangkok

Carjackings happen in the same fashion.  The driver of the bike will cut you off in traffic, causing you to stop.  The passenger will run up to you, pull you out of the car at gunpoint and then jump into the driver’s seat.  Both will flee the scene, one riding the bike and the other driving the car he stole from you.  Active Self Protection recently posted a narrated video analysis of this type of car jacking.  The short video demonstrates who the motorcycle carjackers get into position and stop the vehicle.  Fortunately, in this case, the victim turned the tables on the carjackers.

 

You’ll often see more than one person on a motorbike in third world countries. It’s usually a guy and his girlfriend/wife or a father and his kids.  You’ll rarely see two adult males riding together. Even more rare is two males riding together when both are wearing helmets. Be alert any time you see that.

 

2) A person wearing a motorcycle helmet while walking around on foot. Look at the photo again. If you rode your bike to the barbershop, would you keep your helmet on after you parked the bike? The answer is “no.” You’d get rid of that hot and heavy helmet as soon as possible.

 

There are very few legitimate reasons someone would wear a motorcycle helmet when walking around and not on a motorcycle. It’s a huge danger sign if you pay attention.

 

Criminals will occasionally utilize this tactic in the United States, but it’s far less common than in other countries where there are more motorbikes than cars on the road.  Have you thought about how you might physically fight a person wearing a helmet?  All those “knockout” punches you’ve been practicing won’t work very well.  You’ll have to target the attacker’s groin or use kicks and stomps to blow out his knee or ankle.

 

The helmet does serve one useful purpose…it’s easy to grab.  Once you grab the helmet with both hands, you will essentially have control over the attacker.  Where the head goes, the body will follow.  A head twist takedown works very easily on a helmeted attacker.  If you can manipulate his body via control over his head; you can also take his back, setting you up for a good choke.  You do know how to choke someone out, right?  If not, it’s a skill you should master.  You aren’t going to punch your way to victory against a guy wearing a helmet.

 

Pay attention when you see people wearing motorcycle helmets.  Protecting their cranium from impact with the road may not be the primary reason they are wearing the helmet.