Illegal Restraint and Real World Examples: Don't Just Take Our Word For It

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Illegal Restraint and Real World Examples: Don’t Just Take Our Word For It

By The ITS Crew

Here at ITS, we’ve always been big believers in educating people on how to escape from illegal restraint, especially during a situation like a home invasion. Many times when we share these techniques, it’s met with skepticism that we’re training criminals, or that criminals don’t use the rudimentary restraints we highlight. Today we’d like to dispel some of these myths and provide some real-world examples of illegal-restraint occurring.


Home Invasions

Real-World Illegal Restraint 01

We’ll start by focusing on examples of restraint during home invasions, but this isn’t to say that someone couldn’t be restrained during another event like a kidnapping, we just feel home invasions are a more likely scenario that people may encounter in their lives; comparatively speaking of course.

A home invasion takes place when someone forcibly enters a residence while people are present. Sometimes, criminals are unaware that someone is home and many times, simply making your presence known to them is enough to cause them to flee. Criminals are notorious for taking the easy route and it’s unlikely that they’re looking for a fight. However, there are some criminals that purposefully enter homes while people are present. Either to better locate valuables or commit a crime other than robbery; it’s these criminals that can be the most dangerous.

Home invasions can be targeted attacks

During a home invasion, bad guys still aren’t typically looking for a fight and they’ll attempt to restrain residents after overwhelming them with speed, surprise and violence of action. Restraints can be anything that binds your limbs together, like duct tape, zip ties, or even handcuffs. While it’s possible that the restraints are simply placed on you so the criminal can rob the house without interference, you can’t count on that and that’s why it’s important to know methods to escape from restraints.

Real-World Zip-Tie Restraint

Zip ties are a favored restraint of criminals, as they’re cheap and relatively inconspicuous in nature. A quick note, when we say zip ties, we’re not referencing the law-enforcement-grade polymer restraints you may have seen. We’re talking about the heavy-duty style zip ties you can purchase down at the local hardware store.

For a real-world example of zip ties used by criminals, consider this crime report from Boston in October. The report details that two armed men made entry into a home and restrained at least three residents before police arrived. Luckily, the police were able to apprehend the suspects as they made an escape, but they noted that criminals left zip ties, latex gloves and firearms inside the home when fleeing.

Many times home invasions can be targeted attacks where the criminal is looking for something specific, like guns or jewelry. This month in Indiana, an armed criminal confronted a homeowner, binding him and his wife with zip ties and duct tape. He then forced them to open up a safe, from which he took guns and cash. We speculate that the criminal knew about the safe, either from a previous visit or from surveillance. We also gather that when the article mentions that the homeowner was forced to open a safe, the restraints were most likely placed in front of the homeowner, rather than behind them.

This is actually an argument that we hear quite frequently about zip tie restraint, that a criminal would never bind someone with their hands in front of them. However, the truth is that many times bad guys are just in a hurry to get you subdued and only care about getting the restraints on you. This is why we developed our information (see the guide below) about presenting your hands to them and giving yourself the best possible chance of escaping.

Real-World Handcuff Restraint

While zip ties are cheap and rudimentary, handcuffs are durable and purpose-built to act as restraints. While the design for handcuffs hasn’t changed for a very long time, they’re still an effective restraint and is why they’re in use with Law Enforcement Agencies around the world. However, standard handcuffs aren’t only available to Law Enforcement and a quick online search could have a set on your doorstep within a day or so.

We want to interject here quickly and address another negative point people bring up when discussing illegal restraint. We are not advocating escaping from a Law Enforcement Officer or from other lawful detention. Handcuffs are simply one step in the process for a Law Enforcement Officer to restrain someone. There are techniques and training they go through on how to properly restrain someone and that’s outside of the scope here, for a good reason. Suffice to say that handcuffs are simply one factor in Law Enforcement restraint and simply knowing how to escape from them doesn’t mean you’ll be able to.

With all that being said, are handcuffs ever really used in home invasions? You bet they are. In Oregon just this month, two homeowners were handcuffed by two armed men, who then robbed the house and stole their vehicle. In another case in Chicago last month, a women was handcuffed, beaten and robbed by three men.

Learning to Defeat Illegal Restraint

The real-world examples that we’ve linked to above were provided to show that illegal restraint happens across the country, using everything from zip ties to handcuffs. Additionally, all the examples we’ve given occurred this year and within the last three months; just in case you thought we were cherry picking headlines.

The fact is that illegal restraint is something that you may have to face in your life. Knowing how to defeat and escape the restraints could buy you time to fight back or escape. This knowledge is something that we’ve been passionate about sharing for over a decade here at ITS and is why we created this Comprehensive Guide on Escaping Illegal Restraint. It is and always will be free to read.

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