HomeNewsBriefMexico Security Firms Need Regulation to Prevent Criminality: Report
BRIEF

Mexico Security Firms Need Regulation to Prevent Criminality: Report

MEXICO / 12 APR 2018 BY SCOTT SQUIRES EN

A new report suggests that as many as three-quarters of private security companies in Mexico may be operating off the books, limiting their ability to improve security and opening the door to such firms actually contributing to criminal activity.

The report, published April 6 by Mexico’s National Security Commission and the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas at Austin, shows that although Mexico’s private security sector has grown steadily over the past eight years, many private security companies operate without regulatory oversight at the federal and state levels.

There are about 4,000 private security companies in Mexico employing at least 450,000 personnel — roughly the same as the number of police officers in the country. But an estimated 40 to 75 percent of all security firms in Mexico are not included in federal or state level registries.

SEE ALSO: Coverage on Private Security

According to the report, the highest concentrations of private security firms were found in states with the most economic activity — namely, those along the US-Mexico border, in the center of the country and in the Yucatán peninsula.

Two states — the eastern coastal state of Veracruz and the state of Tamaulipas on the US border — stood out as having particularly high rates of unregistered security firms. An estimated 87 percent of security firms were operating informally in Veracruz. The same was true for 79 percent of security companies in Tamaulipas.

InSight Crime Analysis

Previous research has pointed to the problems associated with a lack of regulation of private security firms in Latin America. Employees of such firms have been found to engage in a variety of criminal activities, including drug and arms trafficking as well as extrajudicial killings.

These issues are particularly acute in Mexico, where criminal violence has reached historic levels, and private security firms have stepped in to fill a security gap where trust in the police is scarce.

Stephanie Leutert, co-author of the Strauss Center report, told InSight Crime that even among properly registered private security companies, there are already a “wide range of crimes being committed” by personnel as a result of lax regulatory enforcement.

“When you don’t have audits to make sure that people are following regulation, then you’re more likely to see more instances of assault and robbery,” Leutert said.

SEE ALSO: Mexico News and Profiles

Moreover, without a strong regulatory environment, private security firms can easily fall short on hiring standards, background checks and employee performance evaluations. And companies operating off the books are even more susceptible to corruption, abuses and criminal infiltration.

“Criminal groups are already outsourcing criminal activity to border gangs — assassinations, drug sales and control of territory,” Nicolás González Perrín, Federal Police Attache for the Mexican Ambassador to the United States told InSight Crime.

When it comes to organized crime co-opting private security firms, he added, “we shouldn’t rule out the possibility.”

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

ELITES AND CRIME / 25 MAR 2016

A former executive of the Bank of Mexico received government contracts worth over $30 million despite his conviction years earlier of being…

COLOMBIA / 22 SEP 2011

Colombian authorities seized assets valued at $250 million in an operation targeting members of the Cifuentes Villa gang, who allegedly…

COLOMBIA / 11 JUL 2018

Nightly clashes between criminal gangs and a questionable police operation have engulfed one of Colombia’s most famous neighborhoods, with residents…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…