Expert on Hostage Situations Gives Tips on Surviving a Home Invasion

INSIDE EDITION gets advice from a former NYPD detective and expert of hostage situations, on what you should do if you're ever found in a terrifying situation with a captor.

Haunting images of Jennifer Petit withdrawing money to pay off the men holding her family hostage, and the world wonders, she seemed to be doing everything right, and yet it ended in tragedy.

INSIDE EDITION's Diane McInerney asked former New York City Police Detective Wally Zeins, "Could she have done anything else?"

Zeins said, "In my opinion, she did everything that she was supposed to do to try and save her family."

McInerney asked, "What went wrong?"

"I wish I had the answer to that. In the time of a tragedy like that, things change in a split second," said Zeins.

Zeins is an expert on hostage situations.

McInerney asked, "If your captors demand you go to a second location, like a bank, should you go?"

Zeins replied, "You should listen to everything that the particular hostage taker asks, absolutely. She did everything right. She told the bank teller, and the bank teller called her supervisor, and dialed 911. That was done correctly, and 911 was notified."

Zeins offers these basic tips for anyone who finds himself in the midst of a home invastion:

  • <strong>Be patient with your captors</strong>
  • <strong>Treat them like royalty</strong>
  • <strong>Be observant</strong>
  • <strong>Think twice before trying to escape</strong>

That last tip is the one that might have made a difference for Jennifer Petit, who did not try to escape.

"She could have panicked and run out. But we don't know what the outcome would have been. We can't second guess," said Zeins.

Sometimes, it all goes wrong. Even if you do everything right in the worst situation of your life.