MEXICO CITY – Criminal complaints filed with police about kidnappings rose 90 percent in Mexico during the first three years of conservative President Felipe Calderon’s term, the Milenio newspaper reported over the weekend, citing official statistics.
A total of 2,593 kidnapping complaints were filed during conservative President Vicente Fox’s 2000-2006 term, while 2,455 kidnappings were reported in 2007-2009, the first three years of the Calderon administration, which started on Dec. 1, 2006.
The number of kidnappings reported annually nearly doubled from 595 in 2006 to 1,181 last year, reaching an average of just over three per day, “well above the level registered in countries known for their high incidence of this crime, such as Colombia,” Milenio said.
Abductions, according to National Development Plan, or PND, figures, increased by 40 percent from 2008 to 2009, going from 838 to 1,181.
Crimes are rarely reported in Mexico because citizens view police as being corrupt or incompetent, considering it a waste of time and even dangerous to call authorities.
Official figures indicate that the percentage of common crimes solved in the past few years was low.
Both federal and non-federal crimes, according to the PND, have risen in the past three years.
Murders have risen markedly, with 22,750 killings blamed on organized crime groups since Calderon took office, a figure that is well above those registered under Fox and other presidents.
Mexico is experiencing the most violent period in its history in terms of organized crime, analysts say.
Kidnappings are of particular concern because they affect all social classes.
Marches and protests have been held recently to press officials to do something about crime.
Calderon, state governors, lawmakers, judges and civic activists unanimously approved a 75-point plan in August 2008 to combat organized crime.
The National Accord for Security, Justice and Legality called for rooting out corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary, building more secure prisons, better managing spending on public safety and requiring the registration of all cell phones, but it has not put a dent in the crime rate.
Ciudad Juarez, located across the border from El Paso, Texas, has become Mexico’s murder capital amid a turf war among rival drug cartels.
Mexico City and neighboring Mexico are also hotbeds for crime. EFE