Data: Poor track record in resolving kidnappings

Two specialists in kidnappings, Max Morales and Jorge Carrillo Olea, analyzed in Reforma fifty of Mexico’s highest profile kidnappings since the 1970s. Of the 50 cases, only 17 resulted in the arrest of at least one of the kidnappers, and in only seven were the victims freed by action of the authorities. Two of these cases are still unresolved: Diego Fernández de Cevallos, who was kidnapped on May 14, 2010, and U.S. kidnap specialist Felix Batista, who has been missing since December 2008. Morales and Carrillo identify five phases of kidnapping over the past 40 years: political kidnappings during the Echeverria government; kidnappings of medium-size businessmen for moderate ransoms; kidnappings of large businessmen for mega-ransoms to finance insurgent groups; kidnappings as an industry, developed by gangster Daniel Arizmendi in the 1990s; and the fifth, since 1997, of heavy police involvement in kidnapping. “The problem of Mexico since 1997 is not organized crime, it is police who are organized in crime.” According to Carillo Olea, who was the first head of Mexico’s security agency, CISEN, “Impunity is the prime motor in the proliferation of crime; if we want to reduce the proliferation of crime we have to make all criminal acts punishable and remember that in Mexico only 2% of crimes result in a sentence.”

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