Conflict & Justice

Kidnapping on the rise in Mexico

13 months ago, a high school senior and daughter of a former cabinet minister, disappeared while driving through Mexico City. For two weeks, the family bargained a ransom with the kidnappers and then the negotiations broke off and we got a call that the kidnappers would not get the daughter back. There were 438 reported kidnappings last year. This year Mexico's Secretary of Public Security said there was an 80% increase and in a recent poll, citizens of Mexico City say the city has become a notably more insecure and dangerous place. A sign of that comes from the country's Human Rights Commission who says another third of kidnappings are never reported because people have no faith in the law enforcement system and corrupt police. Analysts say the cartels have branched out into kidnapping because the government has tried targeted drug trafficking. One state is not waiting for the federal government to act and in May their governor created an anti-kidnapping unit composed of federal police officers, intelligence experts, and eight women trained to penetrate the cartels. Two cartels are warring in this region and members of both have been charged with kidnappings and murder. This field commander says most of the time the local police are involved with the cartels. President Calderon says these types of units and a reward system will be created in every Mexican state, but right now newspaper editorials say only the state of Mexico is actively pursuing kidnappers.

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