MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexican officials say they are launching a nationwide effort to fight kidnapping, a crime that has risen to epidemic levels across the country and become what officials label a national emergency.
Federal authorities said Tuesday they are establishing a national anti-kidnapping committee that will establish strategies focused on the 10 of 31 Mexican states that see 74 percent of all kidnappings.
A little more than a year after President Enrique Pena Nieto took power, homicides have decreased but kidnappings and extortion have risen, frustrating his pledges to reduce the levels of the crimes that most affect ordinary Mexicans.
Official figures say Mexicans reported 1,695 kidnappings last year, a 20 percent increase over 2012. But experts estimate that more than 90 percent of kidnappings go unreported.