Abduct: carry off or kidnap (a person) illegally by force or deception
Trick: an action or scheme undertaken to fool, outwit, or deceive.
Predator: a rapacious, exploitive person…
In a previous blog, we outlined some general tips around abduction prevention. Now, we are going to take a closer look at the tricks offenders/predators use to find, connect with, and abduct their victims.
There are cases, of course, when offenders simply use force to abduct someone. Often, however, they try to develop a relationship to get closer to their target. This could be over time. For example, a co-worker or an employee who works in a place (café or club) where the target frequents. The offender might also try to establish a rapport via an initial conversation. A friendly stranger.
Here are some tricks offenders might use to abduct someone.
Asking for help. The examples are numerous. Some offenders might ask directions, often to a well-known place or landmark. A more obscure place, after all, would end the conservation too quickly to engage. Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy approached women asking for help, sometimes stepping with a limp or even using crutches. In 2012, a 16-year-old woman was assaulted near the Broadview/Danforth intersection. This horrible incident began when the survivor approached a man with his head down. As she approached, he asked her for “a light” for his cigarette. When she got close he grabbed her, threatened her with a knife, then dragged her to a more secluded area.
Offers help. Need help with your groceries, your suitcase? Need a ride? In his excellent book, The Gift of Fear, Gavin De Becker begin his study with a case involving a man who helps a woman carry groceries to her apartment then holds her there against her will and assaults her.
Using Real or Fabricated Authority. The involves someone posing as an authority figure or is an authority figure who is abusing his position. A security person, teacher, private investigator. Offenders use their position of trust to establish a relationship of trust.
Posing as a Person of Sales or Service. Similar to the authority figure, this person adopts a role that allows them to engage. This person is posing as a door to door sales person, or as someone who will give you an estimate on an air conditioner for their “company”. In 2012, a Toronto man posing as a salesman, forced his way into a home, assaulting two women.
The Promiser. The “promiser” offers fame or fortune for a variety of potential skills – modeling acting, sports. They appeal to hopes and dreams of success. There are numerous accounts/cases of offenders posing as talent scouts, agents, photographers.
A Crisis. Years ago, a student told me a man approached her in a parking lot saying he locked the keys in his car and asking her, since she was smaller, to reach through the partially opened window to unlock the door. As they approached his car she saw the windows were closed. She fled and reported the incident. If there is a “crisis” call the police, mall security, etc… from a safe place – not alone with a stranger.
Threats. This is a more desperate or impatient offender. It might be their preferred tactic or perhaps their charm and deception persuasion did not persuade. Now, he reverts to a more aggressive approach.
We don’t want to promote cynicism by suggesting that friendly overtures are necessarily informed by sinister motives. We do, however, want you to be aware of some of the trick that predators sometimes use to engage with their target.