Everyone wants to think they're safe and smart as they go about their daily business. But that one time you let your guard down could be the last time. So Crime Watch Daily set up a social experiment to see how people expose themselves to danger on a daily basis.
It can happen to anyone: Women, children, even men, abducted off the street, some quickly forced into automobiles in terrifying abductions.
The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System says about 90,000 people are missing in the U.S. at any given time.
Just how vulnerable are you to an abduction attack? What would you do if it happened? Crime Watch Daily put those questions to the test on the streets of New York in an undercover operation.
We set up in a wonderful Queens neighborhood with high-end shops and restaurants, outfitting a van with counterfeit designer purses. A lot of people can't resist this kind of deal. But what happens if you come to a van like this? You get too close to somebody who wants to do you harm? We're about to find out.
To simulate what a real criminal might do, we are attempting to lure unsuspecting buyers to our van full of merchandise. Once they're near, or they climb inside, anything can happen.
And we have the perfect "actor" for the job of baiting the hook: A former New York detective wearing a hidden microphone and a body camera, dangling sample counterfeit purses as enticement. Kirk Freeman, formerly in Naval intelligence who now has a security consulting firm that teaches people how to be safe all around the world, is also working with us.
"These things can happen at any time of day or night, you don't just have to be in a shady corner or an alleyway somewhere," said Freeman. "They can happen in the light of day in front of everyone."
They say New York has some of the most streetwise people in the world, not easily deceived. We're about to test that urban myth.
There are a lot of street-savvy folks in Queens who aren't going for it. But several people do.
There's no real shame in falling for something like this. It could happen to anyone for the first time. Unfortunately, that could also be the last time.
Watch the video above: Kirk Freeman has a few pointers on how to get out of this type of situation.
We want to remind you this is just one many scenarios kidnappers could use to lure their unsuspecting victims. In this case people were lucky -- they got a free education in street smarts, and didn't pay for it with their lives.