Justice in Mexico

Mexican Government reports a 317% increase in kidnapping cases

09/07/10 – According to a report by the Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados), in 2005 there was less then one kidnapping a day reported; during the first six months of this year, 3.76 kidnappings have been reported daily, which is an increase of 317%. The Chamber of Deputies Center for Social Studies and Public Opinion (Centro de Estudios Sociales y de Opinión Pública – CESOP) also noted that based on a study by the City Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice (Consejo Ciudadano para la Seguridad Pública y la Justicia Penal) in the period of 2000-2008 the National Commission on Human Rights (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos – CNDH) estimated that 75% of kidnappings are not reported, which means that for every kidnapping reported there exists another three that are not. However, the Center highlighted that according to a national victimization survey by the Civic Institute for Studies on Insecurity (Instituto Ciudadano de Estudios sobre la Inseguridad – ICESI), in 2007 there were 6,600 kidnappings committed, which is to say –taking the CNDH report into account—that for every kidnapping reported, 16 others were committed.

Kidnapper Profile
Another study,  “Kidnapping: the social impact and characteristics of crime” (Secuestro: impacto social y características del delito), reported that the kidnappers, in general, have a considerable level of social integration. The report states that the demographic composition of the delinquent population in México City (Distrito Federal) and Edomex (Estado de México) consists of people with an average age of 31 years, with three kids, that one month prior to kidnapping someone had a job as a wage-earner, merchant or bureaucrat. Of the total number of kidnappers, 22% had worked for the Armed Forces, federal police, or state corporations. The profile of kidnappers in the rest of the country consists of individuals between the ages of 22 and 25 years. According to the online news source El Universal, in 2008 it was estimated that organized crime was involved in 30% of kidnappings.

Victim Profile
The victim profile presented by the Chamber of Deputies consists of individuals between the ages of 16 and 30 years (37%). At the time of the kidnapping a fifth of the victims were students, and 16% were employers. Another 15% of the victims were between the ages of 0 and 15 years-old. The kidnappers of these victims demanded an average of 9.7 million pesos, of which only 485 thousand pesos were received (5%). In 5% of the kidnapping cases the victim died. Since June of 2007, the majority of abductions, 9 in 10, have been concentrated in eight states: Chihuahua (498), México (413), the Federal District (380), Baja California (287), Michoacán (277), Guanajuato (145), Guerrero (143) and Tamaulipas (113). The report is based on data from the Secretariat of Public Security (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública – SSP), government reports, CNDH reports, and surveys and investigations of the Center for Legislative Studies

Last month during the Dialogues for Security (Diálogo por la Seguridad) the executive secretary of the National System of Public Security (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública – SNSP), Juan Miguel Alcántara, reported an increase of 14.7% in kidnapping cases in the period from January to June compared to the same period in 2009. In addition, he mentioned that in the past four years the number of kidnappings increased 200%.

Merlos, Andrea. “El secuestro creció 317% de 2005 a 2010.” El Universal. 07 Septiembre, 2010.
Ramos, Jorge. “Gobierno acepta que secuestro creció 200% en los últimos años.” EL Universal. 28 Agosto, 2010.

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