Miranda: political will needed to reduce kidnappings. Miranda: political will needed to reduce kidnappings.

Kidnappings nosedive in Michoacán: activist

The state used to lead in kidnapping but now it's 15th; Veracruz has moved into first place

Kidnappings have declined 67% in Michoacán during the last two years, according to the non-governmental organization Alto al Secuestro (Stop Kidnapping).

The group’s annual report, presented on Wednesday by president Isabel Miranda de Wallace, said the significant decrease in kidnappings occurred in the first 27 months of Michoacan Governor Silvano Aureoles Conejo’s administration.

Miranda praised the effort and the progress made in the state in the fight against one of the most serious and recurring crimes.

She explained that the organization conducts an analysis that correlates the number of kidnapping reports with the political party in power in every state of Mexico.

“We found that it doesn’t matter what party is governing; what matters is the governor’s political will to change things,” she told the newspaper El Universal in an interview.

Of all the state administrations led by governors affiliated with the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD), she continued, that of Aureoles was the only one that reduced kidnappings to such an extent.

Michoacán at one time led with the most kidnappings. According to the National Public Security System (SNSP), it ranked 15th last year, and dropped to 30th place for extortion, a crime closely tied to kidnapping.

Veracruz state represents the other side of the coin. Eleven months after Governor Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares took office, total kidnappings number 343, up from the 62 recorded in the same period last year.

It now leads with the most kidnappings, Miranda said, and has the highest kidnapping rate per 100,000 inhabitants.

“The message for the governor is important: he has to reinforce the safety of the people of Veracruz and the state anti-kidnapping unit,” she said.

Yunes might want to consider taking a page from Aureoles’ book: the Michoacán governor is moving toward consolidating his specialized anti-kidnapping unit (UECS) as the best in the country.

The unit, said the governor, dismantled 16 gangs of kidnappers in 2017 just in the avocado-producing region of Uruapan.

“Operations will not stop [because] it’s hard to put a stop to crime, but I can assert that there’ll be no impunity,” declared the governor.

The report compiled by Alto al Secuestro found that there have been 10,542 reported kidnappings in Mexico since President Enrique Peña Nieto took office on 1 December, 2012, an average of six kidnappings a day.

Of the persistent instances of kidnappings reported throughout the country, Wallace said that authorities in many states “pretend they’re working but they’re not doing anything.”

She did acknowledge and commend the government of Yucatán, the only state where no kidnappings were reported last year.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp), Huffington Post México (sp)

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