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Feature 120417 Risquez

Monday, December 4, 2017

Mexico's Record High Kidnappings Fueled by Fractured Cartels

By Ronna Rísquez (InSight Crime)

Official statistics in Mexico suggest that kidnapping cases will reach a record high this year, a consequence of the atomization of the country’s main organized crime groups.

According to statistics from the National Public Security System (Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública), more than 6,000 kidnappings were recorded during the first four years and ten months of the Enrique Peña Nieto administration. This represents 1,280 more kidnappings than those registered during an equivalent period of time during the Felipe Calderón administration.

In addition to kidnappings, there has also been an alarming rise in the number of homicides. In October, there were a record 2,371 homicides, making it the most violent month in the last 20 years.

Francisco Rivas, the director of the National Citizens Observatory (Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano), predicted that both crimes will reach record highs by the end of Peña Nieto’s six years in office [November 30, 2018].

“I think we will continue to face serious problems with these issues for the remainder of these six years because we have not seen changes to the security strategy that make us think there will be greater territorial control,” Rivas told El Universal.

InSight Crime Analysis

Mexico tried to reduce kidnappings by creating the National Anti-Kidnapping Unit (Coordinación Nacional Antisecuestros – CONASE) in 2014, where it allocated more than two billion pesos this year. But these measures have done little to reduce the crime.

See also: Mexico News and Profiles

While there have been several serious blows to organized crime groups in recent years — the arrest of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, the decimation of the Knights Templar, and the breakdown of major cartels like Sinaloa, the Zetas and the Familia Michoacana — these are pyrrhic victories.

The fracturing of these groups has pushed many former members to shift toward committing more local crimes, such as kidnapping, homicides, extortion, micro-trafficking and robberies. While these groups may not have the international ties needed to engage in drug trafficking, they do have the guns and experience to carry out many other criminal activities.

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This commentary was first published in InSight Crime and reposted per a Creative Commons authorization.  InSight Crime's objective is to increase the level of research, analysis and investigation on organized crime in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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