The Complete Organized Crime Database on the Americas
Kidnapping is the most troublesome security problem facing Mexico’s government, and a breakdown of kidnapping reports by a watchdog group reinforces the idea that only long-term institutional reform can cure it.
According to Venezuela's interior minister, homicides and kidnappings have decreased significantly in 2014. But his refusal to release concrete figures and the Venezuelan government's reputation for manipulating statistics cast doubt on his claims.
Mexican authorities say they have rescued 700 kidnapped migrants in Mexico's Tamaulipas state since May, underscoring the dangers facing migrants traveling through the embattled northeastern state as fragmented criminal groups increasingly turn to kidnapping this vulnerable group as a source of revenue.
Mexico's Tamaulipas state was the site of nearly 60 percent of the country's kidnappings in July and saw a drastic spike in the crime compared to previous months, highlighting the government's inability to secure the embattled state.
Authorities in Argentina are to create a special police unit following a wave of high-profile express kidnappings -- including the abduction of Argentine soccer star Carlos Tevez's father -- highlighting concern over the growing sophistication of local organized crime.
An NGO in Mexico reported that kidnappings rose 56 percent in the first half of 2014 compared with the same period last year, illustrating the failure of President Enrique Peña Nieto's security policies to tackle this crime.
Venezuela reportedly saw 110 kidnappings in the first six months of 2014, indicating a downward trend in incidences of the crime, but this figure likely says little about the true scale of the problem.
In response to years of steadily rising abductions, Mexico has doubled the minimum sentence for kidnappers, a measure that has seen success in other Latin America countries.
A spate of murders in Guerrero, Mexico appears to be linked to a power struggle between local gangs as criminal group Los Rojos experiences internal chaos, providing one illustration of the volatile situation in this small southwestern state.
A rare communique issued by Paraguay's EPP guerrillas has labeled the country's administration a "narco-government," in an apparent public relations attempt to rebuff the president's aggressive pursuit of the rebel group.