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hostage situations

A hostage situation refers to the unlawful abduction or restraint of one or more individuals with intent to restrict their freedom. These situations can be among the most tense episodes for any college campus or law enforcement operation.


Individual and Group Safety Information

The following are recommendations in case you are in a hostage situation:

  • Be patient. Time is on your side. Avoid drastic action.
  • The initial 45 minutes are the most dangerous. Follow instructions, be alert and stay alive. The captor is in a highly emotional state of mind. Don't make mistakes that could jeopardize your well being.
  • Don't speak unless you are spoken to and then only when necessary. Don't talk down to the captor, who may be in an agitated state. Avoid appearing hostile. Maintain eye contact with the captor at all times if possible, but do not stare. Treat the captor like royalty.
  • Try to rest. Avoid speculating. Comply with instructions as best you can. Avoid arguments. Expect the unexpected.
  • Be observant. You may be released or may escape. The personal safety of others may depend on your memory.
  • Be prepared to answer the police on the phone. Be patient, wait. Attempt to establish rapport with the captor. If medications are needed by anyone, say so. The captors in all probability do not want to harm persons held by them. Such direct action further implicates the captor in additional offenses.

The following are safety recommendations in case you are in a building in which a hostage situation is taking place:

  • If you are able to leave the area or the building without placing yourself in danger, take the closest exit and go to the nearest phone and call the University Police Department by dialing 911.
  • If you are unable to leave the area of the building without placing yourself in danger, go to the nearest unused office, lock and barricade the door, and call the University Police Department by dialing 911.
  • While on the phone to police, state clearly that you need immediate assistance. If you are not in immediate danger, don't hang up until told to do so. Give your name, location, the nature of the problem and the people or area it involves.


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