Demand for private security services in Mexico up 40 percent

December 18th, 2011 - 1:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Monterrey (Mexico), Dec 18 (IANS/EFE) Demand for private security services in Mexico rose 40 percent this year compared to 2010 amid continued high levels of drug-related violence, an official of an entrepreneurs’ group said.

Arnulfo Garibo, president of the National Confederation of Private Security Entrepreneurs, or CNESP, which comprises some 150 companies, told a press conference that demand for these services has increased since 2009, especially in northern and central Mexico.

He said the states of Baja California, Nuevo Leon, Mexico, Guerrero, Jalisco, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, Veracruz, Puebla, Sinaloa, Coahuila and Durango and the Federal District (Mexico City) were the federal entities where demand for these services was highest.

The hiring of bodyguards surged 70 percent this year, which “represents more than 19,000 (private) close protection officers nationwide”, Garibo said.

He added that demand increased for security services for people, real estate and merchandise in transit, especially in areas where urban crime gangs and organized criminal networks are especially well established.

Private security services, including access control, risk analysis and the sale, installation and maintenance of electronic security products, have been particularly effective in preventing crimes on highways in the the violence-racked northern and central states.

As a result of the protection provided for cargo trucks, for example, Garibo said CNESP affiliates avoided between 400 and 500 highway robberies in 2011, equivalent to a 70 percent decrease in that crime compared to last year.

A surge in violence by criminal gangs has fueled the growth of the private security industry, which has expanded by 50 percent over the past five-and-a-half years and now represents 2 percent of gross domestic product, according to that sector’s own figures.

The rise of the private security industry also has occurred in the context of widespread corruption among local law enforcement personnel.

Hundreds of Mexican state and local police have been arrested in recent years on charges of collusion with drug cartels and other organized-crime elements. In some cases, army soldiers have disarmed the local police as part of investigations into alleged illegal activity.

President Felipe Calderon militarized the struggle against Mexico’s heavily armed, well-funded drug mobs shortly after taking office in December 2006, deploying tens of thousands of troops and federal police to drug-war flashpoints.

–IANS/EFE
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