World

Mexican government official says kidnapping investigations dropped 18 percent in 2014

Mexico's national chief of anti-kidnapping efforts says investigations of abductions declined 18 percent last year, a development he credited to better state and federal coordination.

Renato Sales said Wednesday that the number of kidnapping investigations in 2014 was 1,394. That was down from 1,698 in 2013.

But underreporting remains a persistent problem. Mexico's national statistics institute estimates more than 90 percent of kidnapping cases are never reported.

Sales says the vast majority of kidnapping victims are released alive, but 2.5 percent are killed even after a ransom is paid.

A recent report by the a security-focused nonprofit group said kidnapping in Mexico has been democratized, affecting not only the wealthy, but also the poor who are held for ransoms of as little as $50.