Guatemala - Country Commercial Guide
Safety and Security Equipment
Last published date:


While the industry showed a shift in product preferences due to the pandemic, overall, it also recorded an increase in demand and was one of several sectors that was not adversely affected by the COVID-19 driven economic crisis.  In fact, the safety and security industry continues to grow in a country with critical crime levels. Companies and citizens rely on the private security to protect their business, homes etc.  

Guatemala continues to face security issues related to narcotics trafficking, organized crime, social economic disparity, and poverty. Most serious crimes are committed by local gangs.  

An ineffective and insufficient police force combined with a lack of prosecutions and convictions, contribute to Guatemala’s security problems.  

Weak institutions, remote areas without state presence, and the country’s geographic position between the drug producing nations of South America and consumers in the United States have made Guatemala an attractive territory for drug traffickers and other organized criminal groups.  

Citizens have limited confidence in the local law enforcement agencies. Companies and individual citizens recognize the inability of the police to protect private property rights. Guatemala continues to see an increase in private security and demand for security systems and products.  The country has 141,000 private security guards and only 44,000 active police officers.  

The private security sector in Guatemala continues to grow; approximately 10 -12% of a typical company’s budget is invested in private security. The Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras have the largest concentration of private security firms in the region.  

According to security statistics in Guatemala:  

There are currently more than 230 companies offering private security.   There are 563,000 registered guns and approximately 1.5 million illegal guns in the country.  

As for the possession of firearms, the United States has an average of 1.20 per person and in Guatemala it is 0.12. An estimated 465 tons of cocaine are smuggled through Guatemala every year. The cost of a patrol to accompany a trailer from a port to the capital starts at $150, and an additional custodian guard costs $87. Placing a satellite chip in a trailer truck costs $700 plus a monthly payment of $40 for the maintenance of the service.  

A new competitive challenge has emerged in the safety and security industry, from the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The PRC’s direct support for major Chinese manufacturers of cameras, video recorders, X-ray equipment and other security equipment that offer below-market value pricing undermines the competitive of U.S. businesses in the sector.  

This not only affects the private market, in which they offer very low-cost products, but also for government procurement. The PRC offers strong financial assistance to secure contracts around the world. Guatemala is no exception.  

According to local businesspeople, these business practices are hurting Chinese brands as well. Chinese manufacturers are not loyal to their long-standing distributors in the region. If they can sell more products to another distributor in the country, they will do so and not inform their current distributor.  

Due to this business strategy, they have cannibalized the market and prices are in an all-time low. As a result, distributors are not making profits as in the past. 



Total Market Size for Safety and Security 





2023 estimated 

Total Exports  





Total Imports  





Imports from the US  





Exchange Rates  





(Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports)  
Units: $ thousands  
Source: SIECA Guatemala, Central America Data Express  

Leading Sub-Sectors  

U.S. products have a 50% market share.  Most of the well-known brand companies from the United States have a distributor or agent locally and offer training, installation, and after-sales service. 

CCTV cameras have gained immense popularity across the country with diverse application segments, and we project high growth in the upcoming years. The growing use of CCTV in schools, hospitals, streets, and retail sector is expected to ensure the development of the market in the country.    

Best prospects for products and services in the security and safety sector include:  

Tracking devices  CCTV  GPS and RFID technology  Token  Metal detectors (manual and arc type)  Biometrics  Perimeter security  Alarms  Access control equipment  Armored vehicles  Drones  


Personal security products, protection products and high-tech solutions and services offer the most significant opportunities. All security products are imported since there is no local production.  Import taxes for these products range from 0-15 % and offer free duty entrance under CAFTA - DR, plus the value added tax of 12%.  

We are in constant contact with security and safety equipment importers as well as the Security Chamber of Guatemala, to keep track of market trends, and importers interested in U.S. made products. We promote and send a delegation of importers each year to the ISC Expo and to ASIS International Expo.  

Web Resources 


Secretariat for the Central American Economic Integration

Guatemalan Government Purchasing Website

Guatemalan Security Association


Interested parties may contact Commercial Specialist Antonio Prieto at