WHITTIER, Calif. - Kidnappings are popular plot devices in Hollywood movies, and while they can be rare, there are ways to avoid becoming a victim and escape from one of the most common places where victims end up.
The situations aren't very common, and FBI statistics show more than 17,000 suspected abduction cases reported annually are 99 percent cleared. But it still leaves an average of roughly 200 suspected kidnappings unsolved each year.
So what is a prime hunting ground in many abduction cases? ATMs. Surveillance cameras at one ATM show a man robbing a woman then forcing her into the trunk and driving off.
"Do whatever you can to avoid being placed in that vehicle. Once you're inside - you're abducted," Lt. Chuck Calderaro said.
Calderaro, with the L.A. County Sheriff's Department's major crimes bureau, said depending on the situation a person's odds of survival are much better if the victim fights back or makes a scene.
He said victims can scream, which will alert people. They can also run toward a crowd or to people as a way to dissuade the suspect from committing the crime.
Another tactic is to take off running. He points out that most of the attacks happen at night. People should do banking during the day or at ATMs inside other businesses. They should also make it quick if they have to go at night.
He also said to avoid distractions, such as staring at your cellphone and to be aware about what's going on around you.
If the vigilance doesn't work and you find yourself in the scary situation, Calderaro said you can feel around for standard car tools in the trunk. You should also use your legs and kick out the back seat.
"Most of the new cars - probably going back 10 or 15 years - have a trunk release," Calderaro said. "(You could find a) tire iron, car jack - you can use that maybe to jimmy the lock."
While abductions are rare, they can happen and following the simple safety tips can help you escape to safety.