Mexico experienced an average of six kidnappings per day in the second half of last year, up 23.4 percent from the same period in 2010, according to the government, while an NGO said that only one abduction in 10 is even reported to police
Authorities catalogued 1,239 kidnappings in July-December 2011, compared with 1,004 in the second half of 2010.
The increase in abductions reflects the "growing diversification of the activities of criminal organizations," the executive secretary of the National Public Safety System, Jose Oscar Vega, told reporters.
The figures offered by the government diverge from those compiled by the independent Council for Law and Human Rights, or CLDH, which cites a total of 17,889 kidnappings in 2011: an average of 49 a day.
The CLDH said its data exclude "express kidnappings," in which people are held for a few hours and forced to withdraw cash from ATMs.
Mexico City sees hundreds of express kidnappings every day and taxi drivers are complicit in most of them, the CLDH said, noting that only 10 percent of all kidnap victims file complaints with police.
Vega's report on kidnappings was the second since the Mexican government pledged to start disclosing crime statistics. He is due next week to release the figures on homicides in 2011.