Mexico’s security forces have been unable to reduce the number of kidnappings for ransom across the country despite many arrests and deaths of gangsters, according to new government figures.
Between October 2010 and September 2011, there were 1,016 kidnappings for ransom, a report by the National Public Security System shows.
That figure is almost unchanged compared to the previous year when there were 1,017 such abductions reported.
For each kidnapping registered, anti-crime groups say that up to ten go unreported as family members are scared that the gangsters will hurt the victim if they go to the police.
The numbers also do not tend to show the mass abductions of foreign migrants who travel through Mexico.
(See video on migrant kidnapping)
The Mexican state with the highest number of kidnappings is Chihuahua, home to murder capital Ciudad Juarez.
Second on the list is Michoacan, which is dominated by the so-called Knights Templar drug cartel.
Mexico State, which incorporates the outskirts of Mexico City, and Tamaulipas, over the border from east Texas, also register high levels of kidnapping.
Abductions in Mexico have risen sharply since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and declared a national offensive on drug cartels.
Some agents claim that cartels have moved into kidnapping because the government crackdown hurt their drug profits.
Others argue that gangsters simply began abducting more victims amid the lawlessness unleashed by the drug war.