The number of so-called “express kidnappings” reported by local media soared in the first quarter of 2011, according to a new study.
That’s up from just one in the same period last year and indicates the first three months of 2011 were the worst since 2004.
The vast bulk of Argentina’s kidnappings occur in the province of Buenos Aires.
Of course, the study reflects only express kidnappings reported by the media. It’s unclear what percentage of overall kidnappings this actually represents, though I suspect the percentage is extremely low.
I was kidnapped briefly in a taxi in 1999. The whole incident lasted only about an hour, making it an express kidnapping. I reported it to police, who didn’t seem to care at all. It never appeared in the media. Meanwhile, I know of two people who were kidnapped for much longer periods of time a few years ago. Their stories never made it into the press.
It can be very hard to get accurate crime data in Latin America, where, according to experts, only about one in 10 crimes are reported.
While this study is alarming, it should not be taken as a definitive statement on the nature of crime or kidnappings in Argentina. Because it is based on media reports, it’s very hard to know how reliable it is because the media can be a fickle beast.
A more accurate overview of crime in general is probably Di Tella University’s monthly crime survey, which I will post on Wednesday.