Pub. date: 2004 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952415 | Print ISBN: 9780761926498 | Online ISBN: 9781412952415| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Hostage taking is an ancient form of criminal activity, and it was even an accepted tool of diplomacy in certain societies. Although such acts have a long history, they are still employed today, as demonstrated in Iraq in 2004, where various factions have seized military and civilian personnel from several countries as hostages in hostilities between those factions and U.S. forces. Hostage taking is defined by the United Nations as “the seizing or detaining and threatening to kill, injure, or continue to detain another person to compel a third party to do or abstain from doing any act as a condition for the release of the hostage.” Prior to 1973, hostage negotiation did not exist as a function in U.S. police departments until the largest law enforcement agency in the country, the New York City Police Department (NYPD), reacted to the terrorist hostage holding in Munich, West Germany, by In ...