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Cop: Surrender your keys, not your life

Friday, August 10, 2018
A Finger Print Unit expert looks for prints on CNC3 news anchor Khamal Georges’ vehicle outside the Besson Street Police Station yesterday. PICTURE SHIRLEY BAHADUR

If you ever find yourself in the horrifying situation of being held up at gunpoint for your vehicle, the best chance of survival is just surrender your keys and not retaliate.

According to Sgt Christopher Swamber, of the Criminal Investigative Department’s Stolen Vehicles Unit, thieves are often fearful of not knowing how their victim will react, so it is easy for them to pull the trigger, resulting in your death.

“Do not retaliate, do not fight off the gunmen because they won’t think twice about pulling that trigger as they are frightened men. These criminals aren’t sure if you have a weapon so they will come prepared to protect themselves,” Swamber said.

Swamber said behind the drug trade, vehicle larceny was the second costliest crime in T&T, as each year millions of dollars are lost through theft of vehicles. But it is better to lose a vehicle than your life, he said, adding vehicle owners with coded keys are more likely to face being robbed at gunpoint as opposed to those whose vehicles use regular keys.

Security expert Paul-Daniel Nahous meanwhile said victims should run if they can and make noise while doing so. Nahous, a certified US Anti-Terrorism Officer and Israeli Counter-Terrorism Combat Instructor, said fighting back should be an absolute last resort.

“If held up, comply. Hand over what they ask for. You can’t get back your life. Say little and agree. Do not agitate the bandits or make them nervous. If abducted, look for a means of escape, but understand that there is only one chance at this,” Nahous told the T&T Guardian.

“Under normal circumstances escape is not recommended. However, in Trinidad, given the trends of the criminal element, a kidnapping is likely to end in rape, murder and in some cases human trafficking. Even if it means jumping out of a moving vehicle, sometimes it is a better alternative to what they will do to you. Engage in a fight only ever as an absolute last resort.”


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