Kidnapping Prevention and Tips

Kidnapping in South Africa is on the rise, both by organised crime syndicates and amateur copycat kidnapping groups. The public should be aware that, while crime syndicates are targeting high value individuals that would likely be able to pay ransoms of millions, that everybody is at risk due to copycat kidnapping groups targeting individuals that would be able to pay smaller ransoms. Prevention is the only solution. If you feel you may be at risk or would just like to be more aware, here are a few tips:


  • Do not be predictable. Alter the routes to and from work and the times you leave and return to your house. Do not set patterns.
  • Make sure somebody always knows where you are. If going out with new colleagues or friends, send your location to somebody you trust.
  • Be wary about social media and posting your location on Facebook, as this will assist the kidnappers in identifying your favourite places to visit.
  • When socialising, do not accept drinks from unknown people, do not leave your drink unattended and stay in a group.
  • Make use of smart apps that will notify chosen people if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
  • Do an advanced driving course that will equip you with tools to use when you find yourself in a threatening situation and need to escape.
  • Know which routes are the safest, the locations of police stations, security companies and/or corporate companies with armed guards that could assist you.
  • Familiarise yourself with how to do counter surveillance, as these techniques will provide early warning towards a potential threat.
  • Report any suspicious people or vehicles to the police or your local security company. Seek professional advice from a reputable security service provider should you feel threatened.
  • Trust your gut – if somebody, a situation or place makes you feel uncomfortable, remove yourself from it immediately.

Kidnappers, even amateur copycat kidnappers, should not be underestimated! They will plan the kidnapping well in advance, do surveillance and they will know the behavior and routine of their target.  The abduction is generally carried out when the victim is on a regular journey such as moving between his/her home and office or by following their daily routine, oblivious to the threat.

In case of a kidnapping, it is most important to remain calm, think rationally and be cooperative. Use all your senses and note everything you can. Take in as much information about your captors, vehicles, routes, hideouts and surroundings. This information can assist the authorities in their investigation.

Less than 10 percent of kidnap victims have been killed or have died during their confinement. However, the trauma from being a kidnap victim will be endured long after. People need to take care of themselves.

Written by: Dudley Booysen, Managing Director at Achilles Risk Solutions