Kidnapping Drops 42% in Guatemala in 3 Years: NGO

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Kidnapping in Guatemala dropped some 42 percent between 2008 and 2011 by the count of one NGO, which may be due to the increased number of cases being brought to trial instead of languishing in the court system.

According to Grupo de Apoyo Mutuo (GAM), Guatemala saw 213 kidnappings in 2008. The total dropped steadily over the following four years, falling to 126 cases in 2011.

EFE reports that these figures are similar to those kept by Guatemala’s National Police, who had slightly different totals for 2009 and 2010, but otherwise agreed with GAM’s statistics.

InSight Crime Analysis

One reason for the decline in kidnappings could be the number of successfully prosecuted cases. According to EFE, the NGO found that of the 330 suspects arrested on kidnapping charges since 2008, 247 have been sentenced.

This is high compared to a crime like femicide, for which just 28 cases resulted in sentencing in 2010. Guatemala sees many more victims of femicide rather than kidnapping, with some 608 female murder victims registered in 2010, according to Guatemala’s forensic science institue.

More cases overall are coming to trial and resulting in sentences in Guatemala, according to a recent study presented to the Supreme Court, reports Siglo 21. In the past two years, sentencing has increased 21.7 percent compared to 2008-2009.

But the statistics kept by the Guatemala police and by GAM may not be entirely reliable, as not all kidnappings are reported. This is especially true when the victims are Central American migrants who travel through Guatemala en route to the US, although most migrant kidnappings appear to be concentrated in Mexico. Other kidnappings in Guatemala have reportedly been carried out by current and former police officers, which could result in lower counts by the police.

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