criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or asportationof a person against the person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority. This is often done for ransomor in furtherance of another crime. A majority of jurisdictions in the United States retain the "asportation" element for kidnapping, where the victim must be confined in a bounded area against their will and moved. Any amount of movement will suffice for the requirement, even if it is moving the abductee to a house next door. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, however, the asportation element has been abolished. Note that under early English common law, the asportation element required that the victim be moved outside the realm of England or overseas in order for an abduction to be considered "kidnapping".
According to the
National Crime Information Center:
As of December 31, 2007, there were 105,229 active missing person records in NCIC. Juveniles under the age of 18 accounted for 54,648 (51.93%) of the records, and 12,362 (11.75%) were for juveniles between the ages of 18 and 20. During 2007, 814,967 missing person records were entered into NCIC, a decrease of 2.53% from the 836,131 records entered in 2006.[http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/missingpersons.htm]
Missing person records cleared or canceled during the same period totaled 820,212. Reasons for these removals include: the subject was located by a law enforcement agency; the individual returned home; or the record had to be removed by the entering agency due to a determination that the record was invalid.
In 2007, there were 518 records entered as Abducted by a Stranger; 299,787 entered as Runaway; and 2,919 entered as Abducted by Non-Custodial Parent. This only accounts for 303,224 entries of the 418,967 entered, or 72.4%, which is an increase from 297,632 entries of the 836,131 entered, or 35.6%, in 2006. The Missing Person Circumstances field is optional and has been available since July 1999 when the NCIC 2000 came online. This is not an accurate reflection of the actual circumstances of all the entries.
It is inconclusive at this point as to whether these disappearances were kidnappings for money or for other reasons, but around 28% of the 418,967 entries could be kidnappings. It is premature at this time to say that kidnapping for any reason is nonexistent in the United States.
Following the highly publicized
1932 Lindbergh kidnapping, Congress authorized the FBI to investigate kidnapping at a time when the Bureau was expanding in size and authority. The Bureau made kidnap for ransom a special priority, and continues to do so today. It pursues kidnap cases ferociously; agents who have rescued kidnap victims have been known to describe these rescues as personal high points of their careers.
There are several deterrents to kidnapping in the United States of America. Among these are:
#The extreme logistical challenges involved in successfully exchanging the money for the victim without being apprehended or surveiled.
#Harsh punishment. Convicted kidnappers can expect to face lengthy prison terms. If a victim is brought across state lines, federal charges can be brought as well.
#Good cooperation and information sharing between law enforcement agencies, and tools for spreading information (such as the
The harsh sentences imposed and the poor risk-to-benefit ratio compared with other crimes have caused kidnap for profit virtually to die out in the United States. One notorious failed example of kidnap for ransom was the Chowchilla bus kidnapping, in which 26 children were abducted with the intention of bringing in a $5 million ransom. [ [http://www.crimelibrary.com/gangsters_outlaws/outlaws/chowchilla_kidnap/index.html Chowchilla kidnap, Crime Library website] ] Kidnappings for profit that do occur in or into the United States today often are often connected to other ongoing criminal activity, such as
In the past, and presently in some parts of the world (such as southern
Sudan), kidnapping is a common means used to obtain slaves and money through ransom. In more recent times, kidnapping in the form of shanghaiing (or "pressganging") men was used to supply merchant ships in the 19th century with sailors, whom the law considered unfree labour.
Kidnapping can also take place in the context of
deprogramming, a now rare practice used to convince someone to give up his or her commitment to a new religious movement, called a cultor sect by critics, that the subject's family members consider harmful, prompting their hiring of a deprogrammer.
Stockholm syndrome" is a term used to describe the relationship a hostagecan build with their kidnapper.
According to a "2003 Domestic Violence Report in Colorado", out of a survey of 189 incidents, most people (usually white females) are taken from their homes or residence by a present or former spouse or significant other. They are usually taken by force, not by weapon, and usually the victims are not injured when they are freed.
Kidnapping versus abduction
In the terminology of the common law in many jurisdictions (according to "
Black's Law Dictionary"), the crime of kidnapping is labelled abduction when the victim is a woman. In modern usage, kidnapping or abduction of a child is often called child stealing, particularly when done not to collect a ransom but rather with the intention of keeping the child permanently (often in a case where the child's parents are divorced or legally separated, whereupon the parent who does not have legal custody will commit the act, also known as "childnapping"). Today, the term is no longer restricted to the case of a child victim. Child abductioncan refer to children being taken away without their parents' consentbut with the consent of the child. In Englandand Wales, it is child abduction to take away a child under the age of 16 without parental consent.
Kidnapping in English law
This is a common law offense requiring::that one person takes and carries another away;:by force or
fraud;:without the consent of the person taken; and:without lawful excuse.
It would be difficult to kidnap without also committing false imprisonment, which is the common-law offense of intentionally or recklessly detaining the victim. The use of force to take and detain will also be regarded as an
assault, and other, related offences may also be committed before, during, or after the detention.
murder, kidnapping is the last really significant offence under the common lawwhich has yet to be codified into statute.
Bride kidnappingis a term often applied loosely, to include any bride physically 'abducted' against the will of her parents, even if she is willing to marry the 'abductor'. It still is traditional amongst certain nomadic peoples of Central Asia. It has seen a resurgence in Kyrgystansince the fall of the Soviet Unionand the subsequent erosion of women's rights. [ [http://www.channel4.com/more4/documentaries/doc-feature.jsp?id=6&pageParam=2 'Bride Kidnapping' - a Channel 4documentary] ]
Tiger kidnappingis taking an innocent hostageto make a loved one or associate of the victim do something, e.g. a child is taken hostage to force the shopkeeper to open the safe; the term originates from the usually long preceding observation, like a tiger does on the prowl.
Kidnapping for ransom is a common occurrence in various parts of the world today, and certain cities and countries are often described as the "Kidnapping Capital of the World." As of
2007, that title belongs to Baghdad. [http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn09302004.html Counterpunch.org ] In 2004, it was Mexico[http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1873798.html Highbeam.com] , and in 2001it was Colombia. [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1410316.stm news.bbc.co.uk BBC News] Haitialso has frequent kidnappings (starting several years ago), as do certain parts of Africa.
List of famous kidnappings
* Insight News documentary: [http://www.insightnewstv.com/d08 China's Kidnapped Wives]
* [http://www.crimelibrary.com/criminal_mind/psychology/child_abduction/index.html Court TV's - Criminal Psychology of child abduction]
* [http://www.kidnap.net Kidnap news]
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