HomeNewsBriefMexico Kidnappings Highest in 16 Years
BRIEF

Mexico Kidnappings Highest in 16 Years

KIDNAPPING / 16 SEP 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Mexico saw the highest number of reported kidnappings in the first half of 2013 since at least 1997, according to a national civil society organization, a figure that reflects the increasing diversification of criminal activities in the country.

According to a report from the National Citizen Observatory (ONC), there were 757 reports of kidnappings recorded between January and June this year, the highest number for any semester in the time period 1997 to 2013. The second highest number was recorded in the first six months of 2011, with 700 kidnappings, while the second half of 2012 saw 688.

In comparison, there were 505 kidnappings in the first half of 1997, a number that generally declined until 2006, when kidnapping figures spiked.

If December 2012 is included in the 2013 figure, there were 878 kidnappings recorded in the first seven months of President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration, more than triple the 287 kidnappings reported for the same period at the beginning of former President Felipe Calderon's administration in 2006.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Intentional homicide numbers, meanwhile, have fallen slightly in the past two years, from 11,510 in the first half of 2011 to 9,433 in the first half of 2013, although they are still markedly higher than the 5,874 seen in the first six months of the Calderon administration.

InSight Crime Analysis

As previously noted by InSight Crime, the rise in reported kidnappings is likely due to the changing criminal landscape in Mexico. As traditional criminal groups fragment, and an increasing number of organizations fight for profits, they have been forced to branch out into activities such as extortion and kidnapping, instead of relying primarily on drug trafficking for finances.

The actual number of kidnappings in Mexico is thought to be up to 10 to 15 times higher than that reported, as many cases are settled with ransom payments and never reported.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Kidnapping

Kidnapping victims are frequently subjected to savage treatment, and according to the ONC, up to 30 percent are killed. The Zetas are one group particularly known for their brutal conduct, although gruesome kidnapping tactics are not new -- a man known as the "Ear Lopper" was arrested in 1998, famed for cutting off the fingers and ears of victims and sending them to families with a ransom note.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

HUMAN SMUGGLING / 3 MAY 2013

Three hundred Central American migrants were attacked aboard a train in Veracruz, Mexico while en route to the United States,…

ARGENTINA / 10 FEB 2015

Latin America has a ways to go towards greater financial transparency, as indicated in a recent data dump that tracked…

EPR / 28 NOV 2012

Mexico's Navy has warned that two small but dedicated guerrilla groups in the country are arming themselves…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Tackles Illegal Fishing

15 OCT 2021

In October, InSight Crime and American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) began a year-long project on illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing in…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Featured in Handbook for Reporting on Organized Crime

8 OCT 2021

In late September, the Global Investigative Journalism Network (GIJN) published an excerpt of its forthcoming guide on reporting organized crime in Indonesia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Probing Organized Crime in Haiti

1 OCT 2021

InSight Crime has made it a priority to investigate organized crime in Haiti, where an impotent state is reeling after the July assassination of President Jovenel Moïse, coupled with an…

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…