By Chris Covert
Kidnappings and extortion reports increased by double digits in the first eight months of the Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto's administration, according to a news account posted on AnimalPolitico.com.
Going by data sent to the Mexican Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Publica (SNSP) by state attorneys general, increases in both crimes have been posted in nearly every month since the start of President Pena's term in December 2012.
Such an increase in crime doesn't make it to Mexican press since December 2012 because of the clamp on crime news, sometimes voluntary and often involuntary as it relates to Mexico pervasive organized crime problem.
According to the report, statistics compiled for the periods December 2011 through July 2012 in the former Felipe Calderon administration and the same period in the Peña administration indicates that kidnappings have increase by 223 total, 809 in the previous year to 1,032 in the current period.
The increase is 27.5 percent.
Going by the graphics provided in the report, month for month increases have been posted for every month in 2013 over 2012.
Similarly for the crime of extortion, increases have been posted for every month save one, June, 2013, when three fewer cases of extortion were reported, 679 versus 676.
That increase is 17.5 percent with 794 more cases from 2012 to 2013.
Mexican government officials have disputed the claims saying that the increase is due to the federal government's campaign encouraging citizens to report kidnappings and extortion.
Secretaria de Gobernacion or interior ministry spokesman, Eduardo Sanchez, is quoted in the article saying that kidnapping gangs have been dismantled and many kidnapping victims have been released, which is what is shown in the data. Eduardo Sanchez also admitted that the statistics do show an increase in the crime of kidnapping and extortion.
Francisco Rivas, of the Observatorio Nacional Ciudadano, disputes the government claims saying if anything the increase shows a small part of a larger crime problem. Citizens do not always report kidnapping and extortion and an increase in crime statistic would indicate that the crime has increased, dramatically.
"There are no indicators," said Francisco Rivas, to back up the government's claim.
Before the clamp on crime news took place last spring, Mexican press reports indicated that ordinary citizens suffer from virtual kidnapping where a victim is telephoned and told to pay money to prevent an actual kidnapping. Citizens have responded by simply not answering their phones.
Kidnapping and extortion are also a means local crime groups have of funding local operations.
Nationwide, kidnappings have more than tripled since the start of the Calderon administration going from 436 in the first full year of President Calderon's administration to 1,344 in 2011, the last full year of the Calderon administration, and the high water mark for the Calderon years.
Going by current statistics, at the current rate kidnappings nationwide could come close to 1,300, the lowest level since 2010, when 1,236 kidnappings were reported.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com and BorderlandBeat.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His latest work of non-fiction, The Wounded Eagle: Volume 2 went on sale September 1st at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com.