Make no mistake, Kim Kardashian should count herself very lucky after being robbed at gunpoint while in Paris. The gang of armed robbers, acting as police officers, burst into her residence in the early hours and weren’t messing around. They were very serious criminals who had clearly planned their attack for some time, maybe since the last time she had visited the city. Just maybe the robbers knew where she normally stayed, what kind of security she had, and the places she liked to go, that’s called setting a pattern, and in this case, it was a careless and dangerous pattern.
Irrelevant of what you think of Kim Kardashian, she is a human being and a mother of two young children, and for her to go through what she did I’m sure will live with her for the rest of her life, be it glamorous as she’s been living or more low key which one would now advise. 29 million Facebook followers, 48 million Twitter followers, and 84 million Instagram followers - that’s a lot of people to broadcast your every movement around the world to, yet it's become a common trend for many. When you advertise your wealth, where you’re traveling to, staying at, having dinner at or the event you’re attending, then you open yourself up to unnecessary risk.
In this article, we look at some of the lessons that can be learned from this incident from the perspective of personal security. Hopefully it will encourage others to take necessary measures so they don’t make the same mistakes and find themselves in a similar situation. It's important to understand that our information of the incident is based on the many media reports, so our information cannot be verified fully, however as with most incidents of this nature involving well-known figures, the reporting is usually accurate.
The robbers entered the apartment ever so simply and tied Kim up at gunpoint before stealing her high value jewelry. Seemingly it was a vicious, nasty and dangerous incident. This is Paris, a city that has been home to two major terror attacks and a city that has a high-risk level. One would think that someone like Kim Kardashian would be a prime target for ISIS, but fortunately others got to her first and thankfully didn’t physically harm her. One would also think that someone of Kim Kardashian’s fame and fortune would have the best protection available. Imagine if this was indeed a targeted attack by ISIS though? Or imagine if the robbers decided to kill her? Things could be very different right now if that had have happened.
This was a well-planned and effective operation carried out by a team who knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t just turn up and go for it, they’ll have done their research, not hard with Kim posting about her whereabouts, and they’ll have formulated a plan to strike when the time was right. They will have been following Kim around while they were in Paris, on bikes, on foot and in cars, whatever it took to maintain surveillance on her, and it wasn’t picked up on by her security people who are supposed to be trained for such matters.
It’s been reported that she was tailed for at least three days before the robbery and at least one man pretended to be a photographer and followed her on a motorbike to find out her whereabouts. Another man pretended to be a plain-clothed detective to try to get a seat next to her at the exclusive ‘Ferdi Restaurant’ on the Thursday night. But both men were fakes. The photographer tried to listen in to the conversations by other paparazzi but he was challenged by the genuine ones. And the so-called policeman fled when staff at ‘Ferdi’ asked to see his credentials. Red flags? Was her security made aware of these incidents?
It seems clear the robbers wanted her jewelry, that’s the reported $11 million worth of jewelry that Kim put on social media for the world to see beforehand.
The five masked men dressed in clothes with police markings, burst into the luxury apartment in the early hours and held her at gunpoint. They bound her wrists and ankles with zip ties and left her in a bathtub before stealing the jewelry. The gang of robbers had been able to enter the exclusive ‘l'Hotel de Pourtalès’ after the concierge mistook them for police and let them in. Could things have been different if Kim’s security were present? Absolutely it could, even if it was one guy. Having that presence would not only have posed as a potential deterrent, but he or she would have been able to contact the authorities and obtain the support of their colleagues.
Security obviously comes at a cost and often a big one, but how much do you value your life? A good security agent will protect you from harm, protect your property, valuables, image, brand and reputation, ensure your itinerary is managed so you’re on time to a meeting or event, and they’ll handle all the logistics of a trip. If the need requires, there should be more than one security agent, and in Kim’s case, being high profile with high value jewelry in a city classed as ‘at risk’, there were certainly enough reasons to increase her security presence. Yet, none of them were present when she was robbed.
Not only that but Kim would have gone to bed that night with peace of mind knowing that someone on her security team was in close proximity. If you have a multi-million-dollar ring and you're showing it off on social media, how much does it cost to get an off-duty or retired police officer, or pay to have a residential security agent that is trained to work a 12-hour night shift? Anywhere from $1,250 - $1,600 that’s how much but is that too much to some, despite their wealth and fame? Quite clearly Kim didn’t value the jewelry or her own well-being this particular night, because if she did then there would have been measures in place to protect her.
We aren’t going to highlight too many questions about Pascal Duvier, Kim’s bodyguard. The reason for this is that nobody knows in detail if he was under any restrictions from his client, it happens. We fully understand what it’s like to work with a major celebrity and we also know the challenges that security professionals can face especially with working solo or with multiple clients as he was that night. We’ll raise questions, but we simply can’t make a judgement as to why he wasn’t with Kim at the time of the robbery.
One thing we do know is that when you’re a celebrity with the fame and wealth that Kim Kardashian has, her personal security is not a one-man detail. There are very real threats all the time from all manner of stalkers, pranksters, idiots and criminals. I know this because I’ve worked with some of the most famous people in the world in my capacity as their personal security, and have done so incident free in 85 countries. I am conscious however that that could change at any time, therefore making the right decisions on behalf of myself and my clients, are of extreme importance. If that means increasing the budget to have more security personnel due to a specific trip or threat, then I’ll address it. Sometimes though it will be rebuffed, that’s when as a security professional, you have a decision to make as to whether or not you can sign off on the vulnerabilities. It’s important to note however that protection isn’t cheap if you do it right.
Being high profile with high value jewelry in a city classed as ‘at risk’, there were certainly enough reasons to increase her security presence.
Working solo will not only burn the agent out but will expose the client to risks as we’ve seen in Paris. Many may think that walking rear right over someone’s shoulder is such an easy role, it isn’t. There’s extensive planning for each event and trip, drivers to coordinate, advance work to be conducted, itineraries to be reviewed and if need be, changed, technology to be implemented sometimes and many other areas that all roll into the art of executive protection.
Executive Protection specialists vary in background, physical shape and method of operating due to the nature of their training, some have little to none, and can be hired based on their appearance alone. Other’s train constantly in their downtime, have extensive military, law enforcement or government backgrounds, and blend into their environment and client group without standing out. This can often be the best approach with high net worth families and corporate executives when hiring their personal security, but often you’ll see celebrities with those who stand out due to their size though some are diligent and professional in what they do.
The media reports that Kim’s security consisted of her bodyguard, but there may also have been others, contractors, who were supporting him, though again this is an unknown. Either way, Kim had people following her around unbeknown to her or anyone else, she and her people may have assumed they were paparazzi as they are used to it, though the robbers used that to formulate their plan based on her pattern and movements in the city. On the night of the robbery, the robbers went to an exclusive place where Kim was staying and they knew exactly where to go, where to find the jewelry that Kim had been showing to her social media followers, and they knew that security was out with the sisters, it was perfectly set up for them.
This incident isn’t the first time Kim has found herself in a risky situation, in fact only a few days before the robbery, a notorious Ukrainian prankster tried to grab her as she walked out of a car in Paris. Duvier, who is 6ft 4in and 264 pounds, moved quickly to stop him, though not quick enough to prevent the assailant reaching his target. If the idiot prankster had been armed, it could have been a far worse outcome. Of course, with fame and wealth comes issues and security concerns, whether physical or threats from stalkers or those with criminal intent.
Many in the media and on social platforms have been blaming the bodyguard, however his client’s dictate his day to day role and responsibilities, both Kim and Kanye are his charges, but he was out at a nightclub with Kim’s sisters, Kourtney and Kendall. This is where additional security personnel come into play, Kim should never have been left alone at that apartment, either the bodyguard should have been there and had other security with the sisters or vice versa. He may have addressed this but had resistance from Kim and/or Kanye, possibly due to cost.
With fame and wealth comes issues and security concerns, whether physical or threats from stalkers or those with criminal intent.
A surveillance operation was executed, they followed her around and blended in with the local paparazzi and at the end of the day they seen where she was staying. What could possibly go wrong for the bad guys? Well nothing. When you are carrying a large amount of valuable jewelry it’s not uncommon for that in itself to have its own security, but it’s clear that wasn’t a priority and neither was Kim’s personal well-being. You’re automatically a target by wearing that jewelry, you’re even more of a target by flaunting it on social media along with where you are in a particular city, and with those two things combined along with a high profile, you're rolling the dice with your safety and security and it is careless to do so.
All the robbers had to do now they knew where she was staying was to sit and wait, watch the bodyguard leave for the hotel to collect the sisters for the trip to the nightclub, and then make their move. They didn’t need much from the porter at the apartment other than to guide them up the stairs and show them where she was staying. Whether they forced their way in or knocked on the door is an unknown, but they got in regardless before handcuffing Kim at gunpoint where she 'begged for her life' and told the gunmen she had children at home. In a situation like that, it doesn’t matter what you tell them, and if she’d have seen any of their faces despite them wearing ski masks, I’ve no doubt they’d have killed her right then and there.
If Kim had been staying at a hotel then her security personnel would have been appropriately accommodated in the same location, with at least one member of the team in the opposite or adjoining room. In the event of an incident, whether it be criminal or medical, she would have had an immediate response.
There’s a good chance that Duvier had worked a full day with Kim, and once she was in for the night he had to go out with the sisters until the early hours before being up early again for another full day. A giant he may be; a robot he is not. You simply cannot function as an effective personal security agent operating on limited sleep. Working with a high-profile celebrity such as Kim Kardashian soon saps your energy, you need to be on top of your game at all time dealing with so many things; paparazzi, fans, friends, movements, drivers, accommodation, private aviation, event or meeting locations as well as personnel.
What could have been done differently? Personal security is a job that requires smart strategic thinking and decision making. Whether Duvier was told by Kim to go with her sisters or not, based on the information we know, there are five key things that could have helped to make Kim a harder target:
Kim could have stayed at the ‘George V Hotel’ with other family members and under a pseudonym with more security present and her own security accommodated on the same floor.
Having sufficient security coverage for both Kim and her sisters especially with the amount of expensive jewelry.
Hiring an off-duty police officer or contract security personnel to be on her hotel floor throughout the night.
Having a dedicated security officer safeguarding the jewelry.
Restrict social media information such as her agenda, location, and whereabouts.
What you can do to not be in a similar situation – 5 Key Tips
Check into hotels and other accommodations under a pseudonym if you are a well-known figure.
Book into hotels and other residences that have a good security presence.
When using social media, don’t advertise where you are or going to.
Always try and maintain a low profile.
If hiring personal security, carry out extensive due diligence.
Kim Kardashian didn’t deserve to be robbed in such a manner, nobody does, but she should be thankful that she can make changes so it doesn’t happen again. Her prior obsessive presence on social media without doubt contributed to her undoing, especially when broadcasting her location to everyone. We hope that she recovers from the unfortunate experience she went through which will live with her for a long time, but it could and should have been avoided.
Now is the time though that they become smarter with their family protection. By having the right program, they will minimize the risks with their personal security, failure to do so could see another incident occurring with the Kardashian family where the outcome could be very different if it does.
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