Hostage Negotiation

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Hostage Negotiation

By | June 2002
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Hostage and barricade incidents are amongst the most difficult, emotional, and sometimes potentially lethal situations that a negotiator can be involved in. Often, the hostage taker shows signs of mental illness, drug or alcohol intoxication, or personal disputes accompanied by a high level of emotion. (Feldmann) These contributing factors lead to impulsive and often unpredictable behavior on the part of the hostage taker. It is sometimes impossible for negotiators to anticipate possible outcomes and complications that could arise from these incidents. Negotiators use a wide variety of tools, information, and strategies to try and resolve whatever grievances and demands the perpetrator is exhibiting. The main focus on the part of the negotiator is to keep the hostage alive, then try to negotiate a surrender. There is a considerable risk to both the victims and law enforcement when dealing with a hostage situation. (Feldmann) This paper will identify and distinguish several high risk factors that negotiators and law enforcement use to extinguish potentially lethal situations. The presence or absence of these factors can influence the outcome of a situation for the better or for the worst. Second, this paper will identify several motivations for hostage taking. Why and what would prompt an individual to take hostages? Several influential and background reasons will be examined. Finally, some successful and also failed negotiations will be explored, with possible reasons and explanations to what factors made them either a success or a failure.

Hostage negotiation is as much of an art as it is a science. The negotiator not only holds the lives of the victims in his hands, but the lives of law enforcement and the hostage taker as well. His persuasiveness and communication abilities have the power to protect and save lives. The Hostage Taker

One of the most common reasons for a hostage taking situation is desperation. The hostage taker feels desperate...