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Does a Water Bottle on Your Car Hood Mean You Are in Danger?

In February 2021, Omaha radio station KFAB posted an article headlined “If You Discover a Water Bottle on Your Automobile, Drive Away — You May Be in Hazard.” That article warned readers {that a} motorist’s discovering a water bottle on a automobile’s hood was a possible indicator the motive force was being focused by abductors:

This can be a tactic utilized by traffickers and kidnappers to get you to exit your car and take no matter is on high of the automobile off. When you have this occur and one thing is on the hood of your automobile once you come again to it, go away it there, drive away it’ll fall off by itself.

As traditional with rumors of this ilk, no proof was supplied that the offered situation had ever occurred in any respect, a lot much less was a standard type of crime. Your entire report was primarily based on a TikTok video by a girl who stated she had a random encounter with a stranger appearing oddly round her automobile in a mall parking zone, later discovered a water bottle on the hood of her car, and posited (primarily based on nothing) that these two issues had been someway associated in a means that ought to be regarding to viewers:


#saftey #ohio #cincinnati #becareful

♬ original sound – Haley West

Like so many different examples of spurious crime warnings we’ve examined through the years, this one postulates an inefficient and implausible scheme for abductions perpetrated by kidnappers and human traffickers.

For starters, the would-be malefactor would want to case public parking tons, look forward to a automobile pushed by a single feminine to park, place a water bottle on the automobile hood after the motive force was out of sight, furtively stake out the world and look forward to the motive force to return to her car (with out having any concept when that may occur), after which hope that the putative sufferer each didn’t discover the bottle till after getting into her automobile and promptly exited her automobile once more to take away the container from her hood earlier than driving off. Not a very environment friendly process.

As effectively, this strategy makes little sense as a stratagem for finishing up abductions. If a felony wished to grab an individual from a parking zone, they’d achieve no benefit in permitting that particular person to enter her car after which luring her again out once more. Much better to seize the sufferer earlier than she will be able to unlock her automobile door, earlier than she will be able to begin the engine, earlier than she will be able to launch the car’s parking brake, earlier than she will be able to put the automobile in gear, earlier than she will be able to pull out her cellphone, and earlier than she will be able to do the rest that may assist her escape. Making an attempt to trick somebody into getting out of their car after they’ve had the chance to take a number of of those actions would solely be helpful if the felony’s intent had been to make off with the automobile itself moderately than its driver. (And even when stealing the car had been the actual motive, automobile thefts are typically far more crimes of alternative than of the kind of affected person plotting outlined right here.)

Furthermore, as we often be aware about associated warnings, the plot described above isn’t consultant of how human traffickers usually work. Somewhat than indiscriminately grabbing victims from public locations, they make use of different means for luring or coercing their targets into their fold. In response to the Montgomery Advertiser:

[E]xperts say these tales — younger women snatched from their moms in broad daylight, stalked in crowded supermarkets and kidnapped throughout the U.S. border — aren’t true.

And worse, spreading them can damage, not assist, efforts to dismantle human trafficking.

Traffickers are too sensible to attempt to snatch unwitting victims from grocery retailer parking tons and metropolis parks, authorities say, regardless of city legends that proceed to flow into on social media. Although there are some circumstances of kidnapping in human trafficking operations, they’re comparatively uncommon. Some victims are coerced or pressured into trafficking by way of familial or romantic relationships … Tuscaloosa Police Division Lt. Darren Beams stated he’s encountered victims who had been promised cash for faculty from a part-time job, solely to change into trapped in a trafficking ring. Victims most in danger [are] these with out familial or group assets to show to, or these scared of authorities.

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