Mexico authorities arrest suspected kidnappers

Mexico may have seen an average of 72 kidnappings per day throughout 2012, according to an NGO, a huge number which bears no relation to official statistics and which would make the country one of the kidnap capitals of the world.

Speaking to EFE news agency, the director of the NGO Council for Law and Human Rights (Consejo para la Ley y los Derechos Humanos - CLDH) stated, “by this date last year we had an average of 51 (kidnapping) cases per day. This year, with December’s figures, we have 72 cases per day.”

The figure does not include “express” kidnappings where victims are detained for a matter of hours, usually for a ransom payment.

The director, Fernando Ruiz, added that despite the government’s framing of kidnapping as being the work of drug gangs, there are an alarming amount of cases that involve the police and military; the CLDH estimates that some 70-80 percent of cases could involve officials, while only one in 10 cases actually reported. No proof was offered to substantiate these claims.

“The big problem we have in Mexico in terms of security is precisely the bodies that should provide security to citizens,” Ruiz said.

According to the CLDH head, the areas that saw the most kidnappings were the states of Morelos, Puebla, Mexico state, and Jalisco, areas that don’t have a strong drug cartel presence.

InSight Crime Analysis

If Mexico finishes the year with an average of 72 kidnap cases per day, then it will mark a 46 percent jump on the final figure released by the CLDH for 2011 of 49 per day. That is 16,562 cases more than the 2011 total given by the federal police. 

Little information has been provided on the methodology used by the CLDH. What's more, if their figures are close to being true, it would mark an alarming rate when considering that Colombia -- formerly considered the kidnap capital of the world -- had a rate of 8 reported cases per day when kidnapping was at its peak in 2002.

The Federal Police put the number of kidnappings at 1,093 from January to September this year, equating to roughly 4.5 cases per day, reported El Universal. The federal force warned earlier this year that drug gangs such as the Zetas and Gulf Cartel were growing increasingly reliant on kidnapping as a source of revenue.

Mexico now has one of the worst tallies for kidnapping in the region, even according to officials figures. Venezuela, increasingly notorious for kidnapping, saw 1,105 cases in 2011, based on official figures, slightly less than the Mexican police's figure of 1,323 for last year, although with a smaller population. Like Mexico, this ignores express kidnappings, a figure which could reach 20-40 cases a day in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas alone.