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Mexico drug war fuels private security boom

September 6, 2016
Seguritec’s Guadalajara headquarters. Seguritec is one of 1,168 private security firms with federal permission to operate in Mexico [Google Street View]

Seguritec’s Guadalajara headquarters. Seguritec is one of 1,168 private security firms with federal permission to operate in Mexico [Photo via Google Street View]

Having spent the morning rumbling through downtown Guadalajara in their impenetrable armoured van, the three Seguritec employees entrusted with collecting cash from local businesses stopped to receive one last payment. Two of them got out to collect the money, but upon returning to their vehicle they realised their colleague had fled with about $800,000 in local currency.

It was an embarrassing setback for Seguritec, a private security firm with the slogan: “Security and trust in transporting valuables”.

“It’s the first time we’ve had a problem of this kind,” Rafael Torres, Seguritec’s local representative, told Al Jazeera. “The money belonged to our clients, who are mostly local banks, but it should be insured. We’ll be carrying out our own investigation and aiding the authorities however we can.”

Guadalajara police chief Salvador Caro says that he has reassigned hundreds of police officers to protect citizens and not just the city’s elite.

Guadalajara police chief Salvador Caro says that he has reassigned hundreds of police officers to protect citizens and not just the city’s elite.

Federal police caught the alleged culprit with suitcases full of cash just five days later, but the heist on July 29 added to the growing list of controversies involving Mexico’s thriving private security industry.

Business has been booming since Felipe Calderon, who was president at that time, declared war on organised crime in December 2006, yet insiders and security experts warn that the industry is rife with corruption and that its rapid growth risks exacerbating security inequality by encouraging authorities to neglect public security…

Click here to read this feature in full at Al Jazeera English.

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