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Marchers in Mexico City yesterday protest femicides and kidnappings. Marchers in Mexico City yesterday protest femicides and kidnappings.

Mexico City initiates strategy to counter Metro kidnapping attempts

Mobile help centers, increased police presence among initiatives announced by mayor

The Mexico City government has announced a plan of action in response to dozens of women’s accounts on social media of kidnapping attempts on the Metro subway system.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum told reporters that the city government had met with victims and organizations on Thursday.

“As of yesterday, we understand that something is going on outside of many Metro stations,” she said on Friday. “How serious is the problem? How widespread is it? Frankly, we just don’t have all the facts.”

She added that many of the victims had been frustrated in their attempts to file official complaints because from a police perspective, some do not constitute consummated criminal acts.

Zúe Valenzuela was one such victim when she was assaulted outside the Coyoacán station by a man who pretended to know her in order to confuse passersby. She said she told police that her assailant had attempted to force her into a vehicle, but officers ignored that and focused instead on the fact that nothing had been stolen.

The mayor said that as part of the initiative to combat the kidnapping attempts, the Attorney General’s office will install dedicated mobile help centers in Metro stations at Coyoacán, Mixcoac, Martín Carrera, Tacubaya and UAM Iztapalapa.

The Attorney General will also review all related incidents and cases.

Sheinbaum assured the public that a map of 85 different kidnapping attempts in 2018 and 2019, created by victims and activists and circulated on social media, will be used by police in their investigation.

The city will also increase the police presence and the number of security cameras inside the Metro and install better lighting outside stations.

Activists say that kidnapping attempts of this sort have been frequent since at least the beginning of last year. Attackers often pretend to know their target or be her significant other.

In one incident, Estela Tagle, 21, was attacked outside the Chilpancingo station by a man who covered her mouth and nose before cornering her against a wall and biting her lower lip so hard that she later required stitches. Tagle managed to yell for help and escape. She said she lives close to the station and had always felt safe there in the past.

While detailed accounts of failed attacks exist by the dozens on social media and other outlets, it is not clear how many of the kidnapping attempts were successful.

Source: ADNPolítico (sp)

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