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"Civilians are an asset; you kill them, they're gone."
Bain warning the crew of the risk of killing civilians

Aside from law enforcers, most of the NPCs encountered in both games are civilians, innocent bystanders who may be present when a heist begins.


A large number of civilians dot the many maps in both PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2, most usually in heists where stealth is the main approach where they pose hindrances to the crew by way of detection. Unlike guards and cameras, civilians cannot detect a player in casing mode, though will quickly panic at the earliest sight of one with a mask on and weapons out, and cannot be pacified if fully alerted. Panicking civilians will usually either seek out the nearest viable panic button, call the police, or simply run outside the map boundaries where an alarm will inevitably be raised. As an alternative to killing poorly placed alerted civilians, some civilians on certain maps' frequency to run away can be exploited in order to get them into a more favorable position.

Players may shout at civilians to intimidate them and get them to lie on the ground, or produce any kind of noise if they have Stockholm Syndrome which gives the same result. This temporarily gets them to stay down in one spot, keeping them out of the line of fire or delaying their attempts at contacting the police, though if not kept a close eye on they will eventually rise up again and resume their phone call(s) or race towards the nearest source of alarm. Civilians on the ground can be restrained with cable ties to render them immobile until moved by the players.

The players are discouraged from killing civilians; collateral damage will immediately deduct funds from the player's spending cash (regardless of whether the heist is completed) and add a trade penalty to that player if he or she goes into custody. To further complicate matters, the civilians have mindless AI, and tend to run around randomly whenever there is gunfire. This makes them a significant liability, as they may run towards shooting players, stand up in front of shooting players, run through trip mines, run in circles around police, and perform other actions that can cause them to accidentally be killed and penalize a player.

In certain heists in both games, there are special "VIP" characters whose presence are vital to the success of the mission, and with some exceptions cannot be harmed by any source. Heists where VIP characters appear are listed below:

  • Heat Street: After forcing Matt Roscoe out of the crashed escape van, the crew has to force him up the hill to extract him so they can remove the briefcase cuffed to his wrist.
  • Green Bridge: The crew has to free the Chinese prisoner "Giant" and get him into the chair at the top of the scaffolding to be extracted by air.
  • Diamond Heist: If the alarm goes off before opening the vault or the vault code fail, the crew must find the CFO and escort him to the helipad on the roof to negotiate with Mr. Garnet for the code. If the negotiation fails with the CFO, the crew must then find Ralph Garnet and escort him to the helicopter for further negotiation.
  • Undercover: After intercepting an IRS deal/FBI setup, the crew needs to escort the Taxman to the server room and interrogate him for passwords. The players can shout at him and melee him to work on getting the passwords, but if he is struck too many times he will be knocked unconscious, slowing down progress.

  • The Big Bank: An achievement for this heist requires tying down Bobblehead Bob and escorting him into the bank vault.
  • White Xmas: The crew has to escort Vlad's drunken brother-in-law to the lumber mill and then to the helicopter to extract him. He may fall asleep while walking to the destinations, and has to be shouted at to be woken up.
  • Nightclub: An achievement/Side Job introduced during Spring Break 2015 requires tying down the DJ and escorting to the escape van.
  • Hoxton Revenge: The crew may have to find, tie down, and escort the FBI boss to open the panic room in stealth. If the FBI boss is killed when he is needed, the heist will go loud.
  • Undercover: The Taxman reprises his earlier role.
  • Bank Heist/Firestarter Day 3: An achievement/Side Job introduced in Update #97.4 requires tying down two civilians in the bank's parking lot, escorting them to the escape van, and keeping them there until the crew escapes.
  • The Biker Heist Day 1: The crew has to escort Mike the mechanic to his truck (and possibly to/from the garage) and defend him from law enforcers while he fixes Rust's Bike/disassembles another bike.
  • Brooklyn 10-10: The crew has to protect Charon from gangsters and law enforcers, and escort him to the escape zone.
  • Heat Street: Matt Roscoe reprises his earlier role, needed for his information on Jiro's son.
  • Green Bridge: "Giant" is replaced by a Japanese prisoner named Kazuo, wanted for his information on Jiro's son.
  • Alaskan Deal: The crew has to rescue the ship captain and his crew from the law enforcers on the scene.
  • Diamond Heist: The CFO reprises his earlier role.
  • Reservoir Dogs Heist Day 2: The crew has to escort Mr. Pink into the warehouse after he crashes his car.

  • Civilians are completely absent in the following heists:

    While civilians do appear in Rats Day 1 and Cook Off, they are scripted to always die before the players can reach them and thus can't be taken hostage.The civilians that may appear in Safe House Nightmare can't be shouted down and taken hostage but can be killed, and a civilian does appear in Undercover and can be killed but cannot be reached. The receptionist in Reservoir Dogs Day 1 is stated to be a civilian and uses the model of one, but pulls a Chimano 88 and fights the player when the alarm goes off and is rather considered a reskinned police officer. She can even be dominated and converted like a regular police officer with the necessary skill.

    Cable Ties[]

    Cable ties upgrade.png

    Cable ties are used to take civilians hostage. When civilians are ordered to lie down, a player can use cable ties to tie them up. This stops the hostages from running away and possibly alerting the police.


    Cable Guy used to grant 8 cableties before patches reduced it to 4

    In both PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2, each player originally starts out with 2 cable ties but it is possible to get more by getting the respective upgrade(s). In the original game this is done by investing in the Assault tree; whilst in PAYDAY 2 this is done by buying the Forced Friendship skill, increasing the amount of cable ties to 6.

    When a civilian is tied, they will be unable to alert the police and unable to move, and must wait for a police officer to free them. In PAYDAY: The Heist the amount of hostages is displayed on the bottom of the screen, while in PAYDAY 2 a number in the top right of the screen will show the number of cable-tied hostages the crew has secured. Maximizing the number of cable-tied hostages will grant the crew a variety of benefits such as:

    1. Delaying oncoming Assault Waves to give the crew breathing room and extra time to complete objectives, rearm, heal up, re-position, and set traps.
    2. Trading hostages to get crew members out of custody in-between assault waves (on higher difficulty levels trading a hostage is the only way for a crew member who has been taken into custody to return to play).
    3. Preventing hostages from triggering an alarm by cellphone calls or panic buttons while stealthing.
    4. Reducing the number of enemies targeting the crew, since a percentage of enemies will prioritize releasing hostages.

    In PAYDAY 2, cable tied civilians can still be moved around by interacting with them, thus enabling the crew to reposition them in an area where law enforcers will have a hard time getting to in order to prevent them from being rescued, or simply to move them out of the line of fire/hot zones where accidental civilian casualties can occur. To order moving civilians to sit down, either move far enough away from them or interact with them again.


    • The importance of Cable Ties is dependent on the mission.
    • When there are multiple civilians, think carefully when choosing which civilian to tie down, as the number of cable ties is limited; try to tie down those who are in good cover, and can be easily reached. The tactic of choosing which civilian to tie down is actually similiar to choosing the location to place ammo and medic bags.
    • Civilians who are tied by cable ties are much more difficult for law enforcers to rescue, as they need time to cut off the ties. Note that FBIs are much more aggressive when attempting rescue, and will always try to do so when given a chance.
    • Although Cable Ties' quantity are quite limited, saving them up is also completely useless as they do not give any benefit when kept in inventory until the end.
    • Civilians will gradually become less and less common as they are ordered by law enforcers to evacuate the area. Keep this in mind for when to use your cable ties.
    • Spare cable ties can be used to tie down those who are caught in crossfire so they won't get up during the fight.
    • In PAYDAY 2 you can gain additional cable ties (up to 9) from ammo boxes.

    PAYDAY: The Heist[]

    • Cable tied civilians on the No Mercy heist, where doing such is crucial.

      Cable ties are very important in Counterfeit or No Mercy as civilians who are tied down cannot get up to escape or trigger the alarm, while in Diamond Heist or Slaughterhouse they are less useful as there are fewer civilians. In Undercover they are completely useless as there are no civilians in reach.
      • In First World Bank or Panic Room, tying down the bank manager or Chavez is an option to obtain the keycard or the key without killing them.
    • Tying down civilians in areas off the main path is an option as they will not be released if no law enforcers pass by.
    • In large maps such as Heat Street or Green Bridge, avoid using cable ties on civilians when the players are not going to stay long, it will be difficult for the crew to reach them later if these civilians are chosen for trade.
    • In any heist other than Heat Street or Green Bridge, keeping some cable ties and tying down a hostage right before performing a trade is not advised, as this is only available when there are civilians nearby.

    PAYDAY 2[]

    Player can tie down civilians, and civilians only, by interacting with them while standing next to them. Civilians must be intimidated into lying down first by shouting at them or making noise with Stockholm Syndrome. Tying down a civilian takes 2 seconds without skills and 0.5 seconds with Forced Friendship Basic.

    Tied civilians cannot move and, hence, cannot use their phones or panic buttons to raise the alarm. If a camera or any person spots a tied civilian, they will become alerted and attempt to raise the alarm. While alerted civilians can be tied down and guards can be dominated or killed, a camera that has fully spotted a player will inevitably raise an alarm, whether or not it is destroyed or the camera operator is killed. 

    Law enforcement will spend time and effort trying to free civilians. Hostages delay the assault waves. They can also be traded for players in custody between assault waves.

    To tie a civilian, player needs to have at least one cable tie left. The cable tie is used up upon finishing the action and cannot be retrieved even if that civilian is subsequently killed or freed.

    • Several heists (see above) lack civilians, making cable ties useless in those.
    • Tying down civilians (usually Bank Managers) with keycards will make them drop those, preventing the need to kill them. This is also the case with museum curators in The Diamond.
    • While White Xmas contains civilians, detaining them is useless since the assault wave never ends.
    • The only heist where you are required to tie down civilians is Hoxton Revenge, provided you wish to remain stealthy.
    • Certain heists contain very few civilians, like the Transport heists. You'd have to tie them down very close to the start before they have a chance to escape the map.
    • It's ill-advised to tie down the civilians in Hotline Miami Day 2, considering any potential hostage trade then requires you to go several floors down again.


    A hostage is a civilian who has been restrained with cable ties or a law enforcer who has been intimidated. They are a means of rescuing crew members from police custody.

    In an active combat situation, the presence of hostages can help delaying the eventual assault wave, or dispersing the enemy's main force during the shootout, as active police forces will prioritise rescuing hostages over engaging the crew, removing their cable ties when they move near the hostages.

    If a civilian hostage's cable ties are removed, they will attempt to flee; however, a player with more cable ties can recapture them. In PAYDAY: The Heist, if a security guard or law enforcer is uncuffed, then he cannot be taken hostage again and will resume attacking the crew.

    Civilian-related Upgrades[]

    In PAYDAY: The Heist, the only civilian related upgrade relates to cable ties;

    Upgrade Assault level
    Amount increase I 4
    Amount increase II 12
    Amount increase III 23
    Amount increase IV 33

    In PAYDAY 2, through the use of certain skills, the behavior of civilians can be altered to produce different results, with effects ranging from reviving downed players, giving them ammo, or simply require less cash to "cleanup" when killed.

    Forced Friendship.png

    Forced Friendship
    Mastermind: Controller Tier 1
    Basic (1 pt): Increases your supply of cable ties by 4. You can tie hostages 75% faster.
    Ace (3 pt): You and your crew gain 0.5 damage absorbtion for each hostage you have. This effect stacks up to a maximum of 8 hostages. Note: This skill does not stack with other Forced Friendship skills.
    Stockholm Syndrome.png

    Stockholm Syndrome
    Mastermind: Controller Tier 3
    Basic (3 pt): Civilians are intimidated by the noise you make and remain intimidated 50% longer.
    Ace (6 pt): Your hostages will not flee when they have been rescued by law enforcers. Whenever you get into custody, your hostages will trade themselves for your safe return. This effect can occur during assaults, but only 1 time during a heist.

    Note that the 50% longer intimidation is part of Forced Friendship instead.

    Hostage Taker.png

    Hostage Taker
    Mastermind: Controller Tier 4
    Basic (4 pt): Having at least one of your own hostage or converted law enforcer makes you regenerate 1.5% health every 5 seconds.
    Ace (8 pt): Having at least one of your own hostage or converted law enforcer makes you regenerate 4.5% health every 5 seconds.

    Ghost: Shinobi Tier 2
    Basic (2 pt): You gain 1 additional body bag in your inventory. Also increases the body bag inventory space to 3 from 2.
    Ace (4 pt): You gain the ability to place 2 body bag cases.


    PAYDAY: The Heist[]

    Intimidating.png Intimidating
    Get a Heavy SWAT to give up.
    Blood in, blood out.png Blood in, blood out
    Trade all the butchers in SLAUGHTERHOUSE. To complete this challenge, you will have to have played the heist from the start.
    Crowd Control.jpg Crowd Control
    Beat COUNTERFEIT without letting any hostage escape or die. To complete this challenge, you will have to have played the heist from the start.
    Pacifist.jpg Pacifist
    Beat COUNTERFEIT on hard difficulty or above without killing any law enforcers or civilians. To complete this challenge, everyone in your crew will have to have played the heist from the start.
    Don't panic.jpg Don't panic
    Complete NO MERCY on hard or OVERKILL without any civilian raising the alarm. To complete this challenge, you will have to have played the heist from the start.

    PAYDAY 2[]

    We Are All Professionals.jpg We Are All Professionals
    In the GO Bank job, complete the heist without the alarm going off and without killing any civilians on the OVERKILL difficulty or above.
    Backing Bobblehead Bob.jpg Backing Bobblehead Bob
    Bring Bobblehead Bob to the vault. Unlocks“The 18th” mask, the "Gemstone" material, the "God of War" pattern and the Wooden Stock for the Falcon rifle.
    Oppressor.jpg Oppressor
    Finish the Bomb: Forest heist without letting any civilian flee or die, having at least five civilians in the heist, while escaping with the boat. Unlocks "The Doctor" mask, "Plywood" material and "Caduceus" pattern.
    Hey Mr. DJ.jpg Hey Mr. DJ
    In the Nightclub job, have 12 hostages or more on the dance floor when you escape. Unlocks the "Aluminum Grip" for the AK weapon family, the "Aluminum Foregrip" for the Krinkov submachine gun and the "LW Upper Receiver" for the CAR weapon family.
    Note: Untied hostages will count toward this achievement if they are intimidated.
    Keep the Party Going.jpg Keep the Party Going
    In the Nightclub job, zip-tie the DJ and bring him to the escape zone by the escape van.
    Hail to the King, Baby.jpg Hail to the King, Baby
    In the Golden Grin Casino heist, kill "The King" and complete the heist in stealth. Unlocks the "Sports Utility Mask" mask, "Carpet" material and "Dices" pattern.
    Hidden Hostages.png Hidden Hostages
    Finish the First World Bank job with 6 or more hostages alive behind the wall by the elevators in the main lobby.
    Crowd Control.png Crowd Control
    On the Counterfeit job, have all civilians as hostages until the safe is opened.
    Saint Francis.jpg Saint Francis
    Complete the Bank Heist job after finding the 2 punks in the parking lot and bringing them next to the van, without letting them get away or die on the OVERKILL difficulty or above.
    Can also be done on Firestarter Day 3.
    Christmas Party.jpg Christmas Party
    On the Stealing Xmas job, escape the heist while keeping at least 10 zip-tied civilians alive within the 4 pillars around the Christmas tree.
    Its Nice To Be Nice.png Its Nice To Be Nice
    Complete the Heat Street job without killing any civilians.



    • It is possible for players to kill civilians without penalty in some maps. In Mallcrasher for instance, players can ignite gas cans with civilians present in the stores and they will be killed but no deduction in spending cash is inflicted.
    • Example of a "floating" civilian.

      When using the cable ties in both PAYDAY: The Heist and PAYDAY 2, the cable ties are not visible in 3rd person, yet the person tied appears to be bound by an invisible force.
    • Civilians may sometimes clip into level geometry or "float" on top of objects when bound by cable ties. These may pose accidental hazards to the crew as they can still be shot as usual.

    Gameplay • Heists • Skills & Perk Decks • Weapons & Equipment • DLC