According to a report published this week by Rachel Briggs of London’s Centre for Foreign Policy entitled ‘The Kidnapping Business,’ kidnapping in Latin America is now a US$500 million per annum ‘business.’

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On average, eight people per day are kidnapped in Colombia, the next ‘proud’ country in line is Mexico with 2,500 in 2003 then Brazil. Kidnappings tend to be for extortive, political, economic or simply opportunistic (‘express’ kidnappings) reasons.

We have all see a few high profile cases but there are also dozens of new cases each day that none of us will ever hear about. In Caracas, 3.9% of the adults claim to have a relative that has been kidnapped, in Cali (Colombia) it’s 1.4% and 1.2% in El Salvador to 1.2%

There are approximately 3,000 kidnappings each year in Colombia. The year 2000 was a little busier with 3,706 ‘reported’ cases however, it’s doubtful that we can rely on these numbers especially when the Police are occasionally involved in the actual kidnapping (not the rescue) and in many ‘express’ kidnappings (where a child might be held for a few hours) are not reported.

In Central America, kidnapping has become more of a ‘growth’ business over the last few years especially in Honduras, Guatemala and Salvador. Thankfully Costa Rica rarely sees this type of crime

If you wish to see some crime comparisons, is a good place to visit where you’ll see the following comparisons:

Top 100 Assaults Per Capita: #6. United States 7.98 per 1000 people, #9. Canada 7.32 per 1000 people and #51. Costa Rica 0.19 per 1000 people.

Top 100 Murders Per Capita: #19 Costa Rica 0.06 per 1000 people, #23. United States 0.05 per 1000 people,#44. Canada 0.02 per 1000 people

Top 100 Rapes Per Capita: #5 Canada 0.75 per 1000 people, #9. United States 0.32 per 1000 people and #18. Costa Rica 0.12 per 1000 people

Top 100 Total Crimes Per Capita: #8. United States 84.39 per 1000 people, #11. Canada 77.63 per 1000 people and #41. Costa Rica 12.54 per 1000 people

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