Monday, December 13, 2010

Kidnapping Details

One stat in the long Milenio Semanal piece on kidnapping that leaps out at me is that 52 percent of victims of the crime in Mexico are middle class or working class, rather than members of the economic elite. I think that this gets lost in a lot of stories that portray kidnapped people as scions of wealthy families; wealthy families are certainly obvious targets, but they are not the only ones being victimized. This is equally true with entrepreneurs and extortion; a lot of those being hit up are small-time shop owners, not major magnates. The article further estimates that the kidnapping industry is worth some $60 million annually, and that between 2 and 10 percent of the crimes are punished, which is why the death penalty alone won't do a whole lot to address kidnapping.

This quote from Isabel Miranda de Wallace, the famous mother/investigator of kidnapping victim Hugo Wallace (who was subsequently killed), is also interesting:
Kidnapping bands have transformed themselves: now that activity has turned into a 'family affair'. The father and oldest son abduct the victim, the mother feeds him, the children learn to live taking care of a person bound and gagged...
I'm not sure exactly what policy implications that shift toward familial kidnapping groups would have, but it's interesting nonetheless.

1 comment:

RG said...

If rich people account for 48 percent of kidnappings, and the rich are something like one or two percent of Mexicans, then the rich are muchy more stastically likely to be kidnapping victims than others.

Not that kidnapping should be dismissed as a rough form of income distribution, but then again, it's too easy to assume kidnappers are only in it for the money, and not for other reasons (like revenge or ... um... extrajudicial debt collection). I don't know if this means anything more than it does that rich people are sued more often than middle-class and poor people, although more lawsuits are filed against poor and middle-class people overall.