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As the Baltimore Sun and other news outlets have recently reported, a high-profile kidnapping has brought more attention to private security and protection. Violet Ripken, the 74-year-old mother of Cal Ripken, Jr. was abducted by an unknown man at gunpoint, bound and forced to drive around with him in her car for about 24 hours. The man stole her credit cards and used them at several places, and she was eventually found abandoned in the back seat of her own car, with her hands bound.
According to the Baltimore Sun article, “Ripken said the abduction has caused the entire family to rethink security.” Cal Ripken, Jr. feels that some evidence suggests that the crime was premeditated, since the kidnapper brought materials with him to tie up Violet.
Fortunately, Violet Ripken was found relatively quickly, and was unharmed. However, adult kidnappings often involve high-profile and high-net worth individuals who are abducted in an attempt to obtain ransom payments from their families.
Protecting family and loved ones is of the utmost importance, especially if you are a high-profile individual with a higher likelihood of being targeted with threats such as kidnapping and ransom demands. Here are some suggestions on how to better protect yourself and your family from Guidepost Solutions’ expert staff, made up of former prosecutors with the U.S. Department of Justice, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Secret Service, specialists from the United States Marshals Service Witness Protection Program.
1.) Be aware of your surroundings. It was very apparent that the individual responsible for this kidnapping was prepared. This could indicate that he had the victim under surveillance for some period of time. People innately/instinctively are aware of things that are out of the ordinary or out of place in their usual surroundings. Trust your instincts and be alert to strange people, vehicles or circumstances that are out of place.
2.) Advise others of your plans/schedule. Periodically check in with whomever you have given your plans to, so that if you don’t check in as scheduled, people will start to look for you and/or alert the authorities.
3.) Keep your car doors locked until you arrive at your destination.
4.) Always check your surroundings before unlocking your car doors and leaving the car.
5.) What should you do if you suspect that you are being followed? If you become aware or suspect that you’re being followed, drive to a public area where help may be available, like a police station, fire house, or shopping mall where there are people who can help. if possible, get the license number and description of the vehicle.