Alarmingly, lower- and middle-income individuals are now kidnapping targets in South Africa. This is according to an article in Business Tech earlier this month. “Kidnapping for ransom and extortion is increasing in South Africa … organised kidnapping syndicates … have expanded their focus beyond high-profile executives,” the article reads.

Worrying stats

The South African Police Service’s (SAPS) latest quarterly stats show that kidnappings increased by 10.2% year-on-year from 3,306 cases in Q1 2022 to 3,641 in Q1 2023. But it’s said that the number soon could double because often people don’t report kidnapping incidents to the SAPS.

This could well spell a crisis, said Geoffrey Coetzee, chief ranger at Marksman’s Nest shooting range. Due to the low- and middle-income victim profile, the ransom amounts demanded are lower. And the reason could be because of the tough economic climate.

Prepare yourself

Geoffrey said, “This once again highlights the fact that it pays to enroll for a self-defence course. Apart from life-saving self-defence skills, the course also teaches situational awareness, how to stay calm under pressure and mental preparedness. All these are vitally important in crisis situations such as a kidnapping.

Business Tech quotes Hermanus van der Linde, CEO of IntegriSure Brokers, “Kidnappings have become a prevalent source of income for syndicates. They prey on individuals who have access to cash. In most instances, the victim has been profiled as to their worth or the family’s worth. Thus the kidnappers ask for an amount they know they can get.”

Kidnappers’ tactic

Furthermore, the article notes that typically, “the victim is held hostage for roughly a week before any communication is made” for a ransom. At this point, the family is so desperate that they pay whatever is asked.”

According to Van der Linde, “Syndicates have come to realise that low-income earners make for easy targets and don’t draw media attention.”

So, the long and short of it is, lower- and middle-income individuals are now kidnapping targets in South Africa. Therefore, be smart and equip yourself with self-defence skills at a reputable shooting range. It’s the best investment you’ll ever make.

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