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Kidnapping Reports in Mexico Up 90 Percent Within 3 Years

Kidnapping Reports in Mexico Up 90 Percent Within 3 Years

The Mexican newspaper Milenio recently reported that during the first three years of president Felipe Calderon’s term, kidnapping reports rose an astounding 90 percent.

A total of 2,593 kidnapping reports were filed during former president Vicente Fox’s term, from 2000 – 2006. In turn, 2,455 kidnapping reports were filed from 2007 – 2009.

It should be noted though that the numbers represent reports of kidnappings instead of the actual numbers, which are most likely higher. In general policemen in Mexico are not trusted because of their corruption and ineffectiveness. In addition, when kidnappings involve rival drug traffickers, it is almost certain they will not involve the police.

Kidnappings are so rampant that many firms doing business in Mexico have kidnapping insurance. In December 2008 a contract employee of ASI Global, which provides kidnapping advice and rescue for companies worldwide, went missing. Over a year later he has still not been found, according to the Houston Chronicle.

Kidnappings do not solely involve drug traffickers or rich families — there have been a rising number of cases involving middle or lower class victims. One typical form is called an express kidnapping, where a person is kidnapped, forced to withdraw money from an ATM and then released. Another epidemic, while not exactly kidnapping, is where a person will call houses at random to demand a ransom when in fact the person has kidnapped no one; the idea is to have the family hand over money before they realize they are safe.

In order to decrease the number of kidnappings, the government must focus on crime and drug trafficking. In August 2008, President Calderon and lawmakers approved a 75 point plan to fight organized crime in Mexico which involves the army.

In 2007 President Bush announced the Merida Initiative, where the U.S. would provide $1.4 billion in equipment, training and technical cooperation to Mexico and Central America over the course of three years with the aim of combating terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational crime. However the plan focuses on suppression rather than decreasing demand for drugs or weapons, ruling it more costly and less effective. There also seemed to be no measure that addressed the fact that drug traffickers receive arms from the U.S.

Besides focusing on drugs and weapons, the Mexican government also needs to tackle poverty. When people have opportunities to earn fair wages, they are less likely to resort to a life of crime.

Reducing kidnappings, and crime in general, needs a multi-pronged solution and so far the government’s militarized response is simply ineffective.

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44 comments

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10:56AM PDT on Jul 2, 2010

Is a life of crime, even in poverty-striken Mexico, truly worth it to have to live in an unremitting state of terror of being kidnapped, tortured and killed?

4:09PM PDT on May 2, 2010

One of my friends is doing this for her PACs coursework. The country is in violent turmoil, and issues such as kidnapping still need to be brought to attention.

8:55AM PDT on May 2, 2010

Very Sad :-(

2:20PM PDT on Apr 30, 2010

It continues because it is not being stopped by those who have the power to do so. Just in the last few days friends have stated to me that they would not go to Mexico.. and now I know why..

6:03PM PDT on Apr 29, 2010

These are just the reported numbers. There are many cases that go unreported. Living in a state that borders Mexico we have seen the kidnapping numbers rise also. Mostly it's Mexicans kidnapping other illegals, but things could change. This practice also happens in our Asian community but they seldom report the kidnappings.

10:47PM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

chill out guys, it ain't that bad. it is terrible, all the killings and kidnapping. but it's no reason to stop going to mexico and telling your daughter not to leave the safety of the airport. there aren't as many real kidnappings as the numbers state. not even close. and the majority of the people getting kidnapped got a lot of money. most of us are probably broke, or just barely hanging on. the sweet natalie holloway would have been better off and safer in mexico.

6:48PM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

as one who has travelled in mexico, i can say becoming a
policeman means you have arrived. they exist to make
money for themselves and enforce the policies of whoever
is in power locally. it won't change until the government changes.

2:49PM PDT on Apr 28, 2010

Very sad. Some people have no respect for life.

1:26PM PDT on Apr 27, 2010

Thats sad.

11:16PM PDT on Apr 26, 2010

I think that the majority of kidnappings take place because of the extreme poverty in Mexico.
I know that the druglords use people as couriers and discard them afterwards (kill them) but still this must be the minority and besides the druglords have more than enough money to go forkidnapping because of the money!
Terrible!
In South Africa they kidnap people for their bankcards and draw as much money on their cards at ATM's as they possibly can.
Unfortunately however, the norm is to kill their victims!

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