How To Survive If You Ever Become A Hostage

In the wake of the deadly bank robbery in Stockton, California, INSIDE EDITION gets advice from authorities on what you can do to survive a hostage situation.

A barrage of gunfire took the life of a woman held hostage after that dramatic bank robbery in Stockton, California.  

Today, there is a makeshift memorial outside the bank where 41-year-old customer Misty Hope-Singh and two bank employees were taken hostage.

This is the third time the Stockton bank has been robbed in the past three years. What you need to know in a case you find yourself in that same terrifying situation may save your life.

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones told INSIDE EDITION's Jim Moret that once the hostages stepped into the robbers' getaway vehicle, their odds of survival were dramatically reduced.

Watch More Of Our Interview With Chief Jones

"Anything anyone can do to not get into a car with a hostage taker is the best advice we can give," said Jones.

One quick-thinking hostage saved herself when a bandit used her as a human shield after robbing a Maryland bank in 2007. A red mist was an exploding dye pack hidden in the bundle of money he stole. As he slipped on the ice, the hostage seized her split-second chance to escape. As the robber raised his gun to shoot he was shot dead by police.

Jones said, "The only real advice we can give is, if you can, try to escape. However necessary, if you can just escape."

The drama of a hostage taking is a Hollywood staple in movies like Dog Day Afternoon and Inside Man.

Former New York City Police Captain Peter Moreno says sometimes it may be too dangerous, or impossible to escape. That's when building a relationship with a hostage taker could be the key to survival.

Moreno told INSIDE EDITION, "If you are taken hostage, the first thing you need to do is listen. You need to let them know you're listening. You need to try to develop some sort of empathy toward your hostage taker and let them know that you feel that way. You have to be your own negotiator until such time as the police can enter into the scene."

Tragically, the three bank robbers responsible for the Stockton heist were in no mood to negotiate.

To see a letter written to Misty Hope-Singh left at a memorial for the victim, click on the PDF button below.