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Mexico unveils anti-kidnapping measures

August 12, 2008 |  9:07 am

Mexico has been reeling in recent months from a surge of drug-related killings. Then earlier this month, the bullet-riddled, decomposed body of a 14-year-old kidnapping victim turned up in the trunk of a stolen Chevy.

The public horror and outrage surrounding the death of Fernando Marti has brought heat on the administrations of President Felipe Calderon and Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. "Last year, 438 Mexicans were reportedly abducted, according to official government statistics. That's a 34% increase over 2006," the L.A. Times reported last week. The story also reported that corrupt Mexican police officers have been involved in collaborating with kidnappers, and at least one police commander has been arrested in connection with the Marti kidnapping.

This week, federal and capital officials announced anti-kidnapping reforms, the Associated Press reports:

"Stung by the kidnap-killing of a 14-year-old boy, the Mexico City government on Monday announced a program of anti-crime reforms, including more citizen involvement."

"Mayor Marcelo Ebrard announced the city will create a new police investigative agency to replace its old, corruption-ridden detectives' unit."

"In addition to overhauling its detective unit, the city hopes to name as many as 300,000 neighborhood anti-crime representatives in this metropolis of 8.7 million. The citizen representatives would evaluate law enforcement efforts."

"The city also will set up an anti-kidnapping hot line, and offer rewards of up to 500,000 pesos ($49,400) for people who provide information leading to the capture of kidnappers, Ebrard said."

"The federal government, meanwhile, is establishing five national anti-kidnapping centers and pushing for a cleanup of police forces."

Here's how the BBC is reporting on the new measures.

-- Reed Johnson in Mexico City