To Resist or Not to Resist — That is the Question

One question that often comes up is whether or when to resist a criminal.  There is no clear-cut answer as it depends a lot on the situation and the individual involved.  Generally though most people agree that pure property or economically motivated crimes should not be resisted.  If the criminal just wants your money or jewelry or whatever property you have its best to turn it over without delay.  You should never put your life at risk for property.  In many places in the world criminals are armed and will use violence at the slightest provocation.

If the criminal is a violent physical crime against your person such as an assault, attempted rape, etc. the response is really a personal decision:  what will you tolerate or not tolerate?  Again will usually be driven by the situation as well.

An area that may be less clear is an abduction or kidnapping.  In these situations its important to know the local norms and the local security environment.  In the US for example kidnapping for ransom is relatively rare.  Many abductions are done by sexual predators or others that will do you harm regardless.  For this reason many experts recommend fighting back to prevent being moved to what is referred to as crime scene 2.  The abduction site is crime scene 1 and its probably better to resist at crime scene 1 than risk being taken to crime scene 2 where the predator will have more time and better control over you and the consequences may be much worse.  However when you shift this dynamic overseas the scenario may change dramatically.  In many international locations kidnap-for-ransom is rampant and in many of these places kidnap victims are usually released unharmed.  In Colombia as an example, there was a period when kidnapping was a very developed business and kidnappers generally kept their victims alive and managed their captivity well to be able to collect the ransom.  In some locations such as Yemen and Egypt’s Sinai Penninsula foreigners are kidnapped by local tribes as a bargaining tool in disputes with the government.  In these cases the victims are usually released unharmed after a short period.  In many locations where express kidnapping is common victims are kept for a few hours to drain their ATM accounts and then they are released.  Therefore it is reasonable to say there may be some abduction scenarios where not resisting increases the likelihood of a better outcome.

A similar – and often related issue to the abduction/kidnapping scenario is the risk of being tied up.  If there is a home invasion at your residence or if you in a place of business when it is robbed and the perpetrators want to tied you up or otherwise restrain you should you resist?  In some cases the criminals may want to do this simply for their own protection or to buy them more time to escape and they may mean you no harm.  Of course you have no way of knowing their intention and some experts will correctly advise you not to trust what they tell you.  Keep in mind that anytime you allow yourself to be restrained you reduce and probably remove your ability to fight back.  That’s a fairly significant consideration and something to think about before the incident occurs.
If you are the victim of an abduction or kidnapping chances are the perpetrator or perpetrators have done some planning and have chosen the time and place to attack so that circumstances favor them.  It’s also possible, in fact likely that they have committed this crime before.  Also – the actual point of abduction is the most volatile time in a kidnapping.  The criminals are on edge and worried about facing resistance so tensions are running high.  That said it may still present the best opportunity to escape as once they have control over you they will move you to a location where they plan to confine you and the level of control will be even greater.  At that point escape will likely be very difficult.

If you are fairly confused at this point or more confused than before you started reading that is normal.  Like so many personal security questions there is no one right pat answer, no on-size-fits-all solution.  There are only ideas and options to consider.  You need to think about the environment you are in, your personal triggers, thresholds and tolerances and weigh the different options.  Some thought should be given to these things before an incident ever occurs.

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