Tujunga residents are on edge after a brazen kidnapping attempt over Memorial Day Weekend. The kidnapper grabbed an 11-year-old girl in broad daylight near Mountain View Elementary School and attempted to kidnap her with his vehicle. The girl screamed and struggled, causing the kidnapper to release her and flee the scene.
This year alone local police have reported attempted kidnappings in North Hollywood, La Crescenta, Santa Ana, and Orange County, as well as a shocking successful kidnapping in Northridge. Some of the victims were children, others older teens and women.
Local parents and teachers should consider sharing these incidents as part of their children’s anti-kidnapping education. The most powerful weapon women and children have is their voice because kidnappers are likely to discontinue their attacks if they fear bystanders may be alerted by the commotion. Confronted with a loud, aggressive would-be victim, most kidnappers will move on and try again another day in hopes of finding someone who lacks the confidence or training to resist.
A would-be victim’s next most powerful weapons are their legs and fingers. Even a small woman or child lifted off the ground can kick and knee aggressively, making them much more difficult to grasp onto or shove into a vehicle. A streetwise self-defense education will also enable them to target the knees or groin, breaking or loosening the attacker’s grip and affording them the opportunity to run away. Meanwhile, the fingers can be aimed at the attacker’s eyes even if the victim has already been thrown over the attacker’s shoulder.
Concerned about the rash of recent kidnapping attempts? Remember, stranger-committed kidnappings are relatively rare. In the unlikely event you or your child are targeted, you are more likely to get away by actively resisting than by waiting for a bystander to help.
Sifu Nancy teaches at California Academy of Martial Arts in Burbank. Tweet her @burbankwingchun or visit http://www.kungfuwingchun.com.