Guatemala - Country Commercial Guide
Safety and Security Equipment

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-08-29


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 part due to the new safety and security measures mandated by the government and implemented during the pandemic. To this day, many businesses continue to utilize cameras and infrared sensors, among other equipment, that were initially required as part of the pandemic response.

All companies, government institutions and even small neighborhood stores acquired camera and thermal scanners. Buildings, offices, and stores in the country installed the systems and invested in equipment and training to comply with the regulations. The country is open for business, but the trend of having thermal imaginary and temperature monitoring is still in place.

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 little confidence in the local law enforcement agencies. Companies and individual citizens recognize the inability of the police to protect private property rights, and this has led many to take security into their own hands. Guatemala continues to see an increase in hired private security and demand for security systems and products.  The country has 138,000 private security guards but only 44,000 active police officers. 

The private security sector in Guatemala continues to grow; approximately 10 to 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 than 522,000 registered guns and approximately 1.5 million illegal guns in the country 
  • An estimated 400 tons of cocaine is smuggled through Guatemala every year 
  • The cost of a patrol to accompany a trailer from a port to the capital starts at $150, 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 & security industry, the same new threat that is growing in Latin America: Chinese interference and influence. The People’s Republic of China (PRC) presence is widely known as they are supporting all major Chinese manufacturers of cameras, video recorders, X ray equipment and other security equipment by offering below-market value pricing and unlimited financing for security projects overseas. 

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

According to local businesspeople, the 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. 

Table: Market size for safety and security equipment





2022 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 U.S. 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.    

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for thermal cameras that monitor a human’s temperature. Private-sector companies, as well as the government have begun installing thermal cameras at the entry points to their buildings. 

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 have the most significant opportunities. All security products are imported since there is no local production.  Import taxes for these products range from 0 to 15 % and 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. 



Interested parties may contact Commercial Specialist Antonio Prieto at