Kidnappings remain a serious security risk throughout Mexico. According to social activist groups, an estimated 400 people were kidnapped nationwide between January and March 2018. The states with the highest rates of kidnappings as of March 2018 are Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Durango, Veracruz, Guerrero, and Chihuahua. However, activists say that the true number of incidents is difficult to determine because so many cases are not reported to authorities for fear that police may be involved in the kidnapping or do more harm to the situation. The majority of cases reported are kidnapping for ransom as Mexican criminal organizations use the ransoms to fund their activities; payment of a ransom does not always guarantee the safe release of the victim.
Fierce turf wars between competing and increasingly fragmented cartels are on the rise in much of the country and violence in parts of Mexico is spiraling out of control as cartels adopt increasingly militarized tactics. Business owners and government figures are also targeted, and bystanders can be caught up in the crossfire. 2017 was the most violent year on record with over 25,000 homicides reported nationwide and violence levels continue to climb.
Individuals present in Mexico are advised to remain vigilant and refrain from sharing personal information with unknown persons to limit the risk of being targeted by potential kidnappers. If attacked, remain calm, do not offer any resistance, and obey all demands issued by your assailant(s). Do everything in your power to keep the situation as calm as possible (accept offered food, engage in conversation initiated by your captors, avoid all political or potentially inflammatory topics, do not do anything that would spook your captors, etc.).
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