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Express Kidnappings Soar In First Quarter – Report

May 3rd, 2011 | Categoría: Other, Travel


The number of so-called “express kidnappings” reported by local media soared in the first quarter of 2011, according to a new study.

The media reported 28 of these kidnappings in the province of Buenos Aires in the first three months of the year, according to an analysis by the think tank Centro de Estudios Nueva Mayoria.

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.

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DonaldNo Gravatar says:

Do tell. Was your ‘express” kidnapping a way of shaking you down for your wallet or did you have to call someone to bring you a certain ransom sum to gain your release?

taosNo Gravatar says:

Mine was a typical “taxi-knapping” or “express kidnapping” that occurred frequently in those days. I got into a taxi and sat in the back right-side seat. A few minutes later, while parked at a stoplight, a man tapped on my right-side window with a gun and said, “Don’t move or I’ll kill you.” By the time I realized what was happening, another man had gotten into the back left-side seat. He quickly put me into a half-nelson headlock and forced my head between my legs. They simply wanted my money and tried to get additional cash from an ATM. Unfortunately, at the time, most local banks didn’t accept my debit card, so they thought I was lying and giving them the wrong PIN. The whole thing should have lasted maybe 15 minutes, but because the card wouldn’t work they drove me around for an hour or so before eventually dumping me off in the Barracas neighborhood. After having my head between my legs for so long, my legs were asleep and I could hardly move them when they told me to get out of the car. Somehow I managed. It was a relatively harmless experience but not one I’d like to repeat. One of the guys even spoke some English and tried to make jokes in English with me while pointing his gun at my face. It was ridiculous and surreal at the same time. After threatening to kill me repeatedly, at the end of the “ride,” one of the men said, “Don’t worry. We were never going to hurt you. We’re professionals.” He then stuffed a two-peso bill in my shirt pocket and told me to use it to pay for a bus trip back home.

John.StNo Gravatar says:

I keep telling people – obvously in vain: When in a taxi, lock the doors, lock the doors, lock the doors!

DonaldNo Gravatar says:

Do tell. Was your ‘express” kidnapping a way of shaking you down for your wallet or did you have to call someone to bring you a certain ransom sum to gain your release?

John GarganNo Gravatar says:

I would also be interested in knowing this!?

TezNo Gravatar says:

I want to know as well!

samNo Gravatar says:

So are you just going to drop that: “I was express kidnapped” with no details???

haroldoNo Gravatar says:

Thanks for posting this information. Like you suggested, the media is not an entirely accurate source but the equation may balanced out by the fact that many crimes go unreported,..which is a fact. I believe the graph is accurate. I say this because I noticed more crime in general over the last year or so (and unfortunately have experienced some of it myself.)

Julia AmanteNo Gravatar says:

This happened to my mother who is Argentine and was flying home to visit family. A taxi driver pretending to be sent by her hotel to pick her up at the airport, drove her into downtown, then pretended to break down and asked her for about ten times what the fare should have been. She gave him the money, because she was scared, but not before she scolded him, telling him that he should be ashamed to do this to tourists who are coming to spend money in Argentina, and that men like him made the country look bad. LOLOL. She said he still took her money, but apologized. Sadly, she hasn’t been back since.

haroldoNo Gravatar says:

Maybe all this should be called Taxinapping……….Makes you think twice about taking a cab.

VinceNo Gravatar says:

Wow, so often like three times a week I get into a taxi at 3am out of my mind and not knowing nothing and never giving it a second thought

Gotta be more careful from now on !!!!!!

[…] an English speaker, recounts his nightmare in the Argentine Post: I was kidnapped briefly in a taxi in 1999. The whole incident lasted only about an hour, making […]

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