An “express kidnapping” occurs when a criminal gang mugs you and takes you from ATM to ATM until your cards don't work anymore. In all the first-hand accounts that I've heard the victim was let go within hours. (I have reliable second hand accounts of ones that ended rather worse: one lasted a few days; in the other the victim resisted, got shot with a small caliber handgun, and drove himself to a hospital.) After nothing that this sort of thing doesn't happen in Cairo, Wood wonders why such a “high-reward and not more than medium-risk [crime] does not happen more in America.”
Sometimes it seems that half my Canadian in-laws are in the Mounties, and my uncle Brent is a cop in Baltimore. So I asked him why it doesn't happen. His answer was fairly obvious: express kidnappings are not medium-risk in the United States. They are superlatively high-risk, in terms of being caught. An express kidnapper needs accomplices, needs to travel with a victim in tow, needs to visit public spaces that are often under electronic surveillance, and leaves a very exact trail showing where they went and when. If they don't want to commit murder, they also usually leave behind an eyewitness who has spent enough time with them for a positive ID. You'd have to be nuts to try it anywhere in the United States outside New Orleans. People do, of course, but they get caught, so it doesn't catch on. The same applies to other countries with efficient police forces, like Chile or Spain. There was a brief surge of express kidnappings in Spain in 2006, but the criminals were often caught.
Mexico City does not have an efficient police force. Not only does it lack anything resembling an investigatory capacity, but response times are extremely slow, and the police are often involved in criminality themselves. The mystery isn't why express kidnappings are rare in the U.S. and Canada. It's why they don't happen in Cairo.
Meanwhile, enjoy Method Man: