Mexico - Country Commercial Guide
Safety and Security

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

Last published date: 2022-09-23

The sale of safety and security equipment and services represents terrific opportunities in Mexico, making this the best prospect industry sector for U.S. exporters. This section includes a market overview and trade data.


The safety and security market shows strong demand for products and services from the government, private enterprises, and consumer buyers. For purposes of this report, ‘security’ means deterring and responding to criminal threats, and prevention solutions. By ‘safety’ we mean addressing the risk of accidents, workplace protection, and industrial safety. Natural hazards or disasters, are considered part of the public security market.

The safety and security sector includes equipment, solutions, and services used for public security, personal protection, residential security, industrial safety, corporate facilities, and infrastructure protection (access control, ID, perimeter security), as well as diverse solutions and systems designed for law enforcement and defense usage.

New technologies have entered the market due to security trends and consumer habits. Increased demand in this sector accelerates supplier competition, but it also drives more sophisticated buying decisions and interest in advanced solutions. The security market reflects Mexico’s large urban populations, development levels, public security policies, and strength of local and state authorities. There are many additional factors in the country’s evolving approaches to the rule of law, from historical attitudes and education levels to criminal justice reform and law enforcement challenges.

The following tables provide the most recent estimates indicating the approximate market size for the range of safety and security products and services in Mexico.

Table: Mexico Safety and Security Products and Services Market Size Estimate

(Figures in USD billions)






2022 (Estimated)

Total Local Production





Total Exports





Total Imports





Imports from the U.S.





Total Market Size*





Exchange Rates





*Total market size = (total local production + imports) - exports
Source: Global Trade Atlas 2022
Note: The safety and security equipment and services sector encompasses several different segments, including some defense products.

Mexico is one of Latin America’s most important security markets due to its size, leading industries, development, and total demand. Moreover, security is one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy. Since 2015, sales of security systems and solutions have grown, on average, about 13 percent according to domestic industry figures, far outpacing growth in the overall economy. However, in 2019, market growth slowed mainly because of federal austerity programs and the redirection of budgets to social programs. The private sector is now more cautious with purchases and projects, given the numerous changes implemented by Mexican President López Obrador.

With an uptick in violent crime and ongoing supply chain threats in recent years in Mexico, safety and security remain a constant concern for the citizens, companies, and Mexican state governments. Security spending is an aspect of nearly all household and organization budgets. In 2021, some experts stated that the private security segment represents 2 percent of the GDP, with more than 600,000 employees. Mexico’s National Statistics and Geographic Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía or INEGI) every trimester publishes its National Survey on Urban Public Security (ENSU). The latest report, published in June 2022, shows that 27.4 percent of homes had at least one victim of crime in the first semester of the year. At the individual level, 21.2 million people were crime victims, just below 2019 levels. ENSU also reflected that the most dangerous Mexican states were Colima, Zacatecas, Baja California, Sonora and Michoacan. The top five cities with the highest percentage of households with crime victims were Chimalhuacan, State of Mexico; Gustavo A. Madero, Mexico City; Cuautitlan Izcalli, State of Mexico; Naucalpan, State of Mexico; and Toluca, State of Mexico. Sales in this sector have grown across end-user segments. The 2022 national security and defense budget funds the principal law enforcement agencies and the Mexican military (Army, Air Force, Navy, and the Secretary of Public Security and Citizen Protection or SSPC), andgrew to USD 14.1 billion, an increase from USD 11 billion in 2021. It also includes funds for the National Guard, and infrastructure projects led by the military.

Private sector spending has driven purchasing growth in this sector. The spread of crime, limited public security resources, expanded private sector efforts to protect assets, higher civic consciousness, and the widespread recognition of shared citizen and corporate responsibilities in crime prevention and education, drive spending on safety and security.

A significant development in 2019 was the López Obrador Administration’s execution of the National Peace and Security Plan 2018–2024 (Plan Nacional de Paz y Seguridad), which includes eight specific areas of action to address Mexico’s security challenges:

  • Combat corruption and restore justice systems
  • Guarantee employment, education, and health conditions through economic development
  • Respect and promote human rights
  • Re-cultivate societal ethics
  • Establish a council for rebuilding domestic peace
  • Restore the function and dignity of the penal system
  • Implement the specific actions of the 2018–2024 plan

This plan has five main elements:

  • Reconsider the role of the armed forces in national security
  • Create the National Guard (Guardia Nacional), to prevent crime, preserve public security, and combat criminal activity
  • Form 266 national, state, and regional Coordination Zones (Coordinaciones Regionales) across the country by 2021
  • Establish operational guidelines

Federal investments to strengthen the National Guard and support the military’s expansion into ports, customs, border, and infrastructure drive the security sector forward.  The shift toward infrastructure projects and internal security has favored small arms purchases and tactical systems and technology over large weapons systems.  The government plans to continue to grow the National Guard from its current 120,000 staffing level to 160,000 by 2024, potentially bringing business opportunities with it.

The public sector and private security market demand new solutions to reduce public security risks, mainly to deter and decrease kidnapping, homicide, extortion, robbery, assault, and other high-impact crimes often connected with organized crime. Other security threats surged in the pandemic. In 2020-21, Mexico experienced increased domestic violence and femicide. Theft of oil and gas from pipelines, called “huichicoleo” in Spanish, continues. Migration flows also represent a new trend in public security due to their effect on communities, health issues, essential services, and security control.

Leading Sub-Sectors

For purposes of this report, the security sub-sector consists of goods and services responding to criminal threats. The safety sub-sector is for goods and services addressing the risk of accidents (and specific emergencies), and industrial protection standards, The government support in natural emergencies such as fires and floods. Is the armed forces’ responsibility, together with some other agencies depending on the type of emergency to deal with (Forest National Commission, Water National Commission, 911 Emergencies, etc.). As in the United States, we further segment the market between government, private enterprise, and consumer end-users.


We anticipate continued, steady demand in several product and service categories. These include private security services, armored cars/vans, robbery prevention, CCTV, communications technologies, and cyber security solutions linked to IT applications. Mobile technologies and internet-connected devices have spread to advanced security applications, forcing organizations and individuals to replace older systems and adopt new security practices. The digital stage is also impacting the security and safety sector. Cybersecurity has been a re-emerging segment as teleworking and using digital and other IT tools have expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cybersecurity is is not part of this Chapter, but you may check the IT section of this report.

Personal and Household Security. As noted in the overview, INEGI conducts an annual survey of public security perception (ENVIPE 2021). Household security spending represents an estimated 1.8 percent (2020) of GDP. ENVIPE 2021 reported that 21.2 million people were victims of 27.6 million crimes during the survey period (keeping in mind that one person can be subject to more than one crime). The main crimes were assaults and robberies in public spaces (22.5%), fraud (19.3%), extortion (16.9%), and partial and total vehicle robberies (10.6%). Domestic violence and femicide are also serious and growing concerns.

Business Security. Security data varies slightly depending on the sources used, but we estimate that private sector companies dedicated 10–12 percent of total spending on security equipment in 2019. Much of this spending focused on enhancing facility and asset protection, such as robust alarm systems, employee/contractor/visitor identification tools, CCTV systems, and high-quality perimeter protection. Other top categories are cargo theft surveillance, GPS mobile tracking systems, better logistics communications, and emergency applications. In January 2020, the business organization COPARMEX, reported that 65percent of its members were victims of a crime.

The American Chamber of Commerce in Mexico (AmCham) publishes an annual corporate safety perceptions report based on a survey of more than 300 local and multinational firms based in Mexico. In the most recently published 2017–2018 survey, companies reported the following six top incidences (percentages represent number of companies reporting incidents):

  1. Transport and supply chain attacks (42.1%)
  2. Virtual extortion (39.9%)*
  3. Theft (39.9%)
  4. Third party offense or threat to employees (30.3%)
  5. Facilities intrusion (23.7%)
  6. Protest, blockades, social unrest (23.2%)

*Virtual extortion is a type of telephone-based extortion.

Other double-digit reported incidents were information leaks, vandalism, and cyber-attacks. Direct extortion reached 9.6 percent, representing a severe recurring security problem for private companies. In another report by the National Urban Survey of Public Security (ENSU) from June 2022 (INEGI), 67.4 percent of the population feel insecure in their cities, and 54.8 percent changed their behavior due to violent crimes (homicides, femicides, extortion, and robbery).

The U.S. Commercial Service Mexico monitors security developments based on issues registered by private firms and incidents reported in the news media. Among these concerns have been railroad attacks to commit large-scale robbery of shipments, illegal tapping of oil and fuel pipelines, highway blockades and assaults, kidnapping, and cyber-attacks.


Spending on industrial and facility safety protection is significantly higher than spending on household safety and generalized civil security (i.e., more money is spent on fire suppression systems in commercial buildings than on home smoke alarms or fire department equipment). There continues to be significant evolution of new safety standards to protect lives, improve workplace environmental conditions, reduce labor risk levels, and create an industrial safety culture. For this reason, this section focuses on business and government purchases for facility and employee safety. The U.S. Commercial Service in Mexico can assist U.S. exporters with other types of consumer safety and civil protection information, including the Mexican standards NOMs.

Workplace Protection and Safety. Workplace safety is a significant concern. According to the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare (Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social or STPS) there were more than 397,000 work-related accidents and diseases in 2020, representing a decrease of 3.7 percent over 2019 (413,000). The industries that have recorded the most accidental deaths are: transportation (trucking, passenger transportation), construction (residential, nonresidential, and civil engineering), and professional and technical services. The 2020 decrease in work-related accidents and diseases is mostly due to pandemic related reductions in overall economic activity. While the sum of work-related accidents and illnesses decreased, IMSS reported more than 119,000 work-related illnesses in 2020, representing an increase of 797 percent over 2019 (13,000). The increase in work-related diseases was driven by the pandemic as COVID-19 cases represented 91 percent of total work-related diseases.

Civil Protection. Civil protection is constrained by government budgets and policy, making this segment a less dynamic market than might otherwise be assumed. However, regular earthquakes and seasonal hurricanes remind authorities, organizations, and citizens about the importance of effective emergency preparedness and response plans. The most common types of accidents and natural disasters in Mexico are earthquakes, volcanic explosions, gas explosions, fires, floods, and hurricanes. Emergency and first-aid kits are part of the regular equipment acquired by many organizations to be prepared, as well as conduct of regular emergency drills. With the COVID-19 emergency, the Secretariat of Health (Secretaría de Salud or SSA) has been the leading federal agency to coordinate government planning. However, the national emergency defense plan, known as DN-III, gives overall control for managing facilities, supply logistics, and planning to the Secretariat of National Defense (Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional or SEDENA) and Secretariat of the Navy (Secretaría de la Marina or SEMAR), like the role the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) plays in the United States.

The federal program for all disaster response, including natural disasters, falls under SEDENA Plan DN-III, so this market sub-segment is part of the overall defense budget (USD 4.8 billion in 2020 only for SEDENA). On the civilian side, firefighters, civil rescue organizations, and the Mexican Red Cross generally depend on grants and donations for equipment and assets, rather than government budgets. Recently, the Federal Government and state authorities have reinforced civil protection units. Coordination among rescue groups and governments has improved, civil protection is attaining wider coverage, and protection plans are known better by citizens.

There is also need to increase expenditures on residential and corporate fire prevention. Although building construction standards imply solid fire safety rules, Mexico has had fire-related incidents due to human errors. Firefighters in Mexico received better wages in 2019 versus prior years, but in some small communities, they continue to work on a volunteer basis. The Mexican Firefighters Association estimates that there are 14,250 firefighters nationwide (2019), but only 45 percent receive a salary. In Mexico City the number of firefighters is still small for the size of the city (around 1,900 firefighters in 2019).

At the same time, Mexico is moving towards better public safety communications and warning technologies. Five years ago, Mexico completed the implementation of a national 911 emergency number system. Responses to medical, security, rescue, and fire emergencies are timelier, and citizens have been more responsible for using such lines for real situations. The “Alerta Amber” program based on the U.S. Amber Alert system receives and broadcasts reports of missing children. Media channels broadcast the alerts, and the program has successfully located lost children and missing women. Some opportunities exist at state levels for monitoring and emergency response technologies. However, not all Mexican states have fully equipped command, control, and communications centers. Some states have created command centers to improve police response times and security surveillance. The Mexico City C5 continues expanding its security cameras coverage (from 15,000 to 80.000 by the end of 2022). In very high crime areas, it has installed more security towers with panic buttons under the program Mi Calle. Another similar program for small businesses is called Mi Negocio.

Business opportunities are mainly in medium-sized and large urban areas, and potential suppliers should prepare an effective market entry strategy. This strategy should keep local and foreign competitors in mind, address changing consumer preferences and concerns, and make complete after-sales service available. U.S. security products generally have a good market reputation, and end-users are familiar with U.S. brands and market trends, but other large foreign firms provide tough competition. Potential suppliers should become familiar with Mexico’s geographic markets by visiting and attending commercial events around the country. After-market service and system warranties can make a difference in gaining an advantage over other suppliers. Suppliers should also consider how mobile security applications are impacting buying habits and modifying end-user expectations and demand.

We envision significant increases in consumption of personal protection products, alarms, CCTV, residential protection solutions, physical protection, electronic security devices, and new digital solutions and apps. CCTVs and video surveillance systems for residential, government, commercial, and industrial use are some of the most purchased goods in the security/safety sector, as well as physical electronic security products. Security solutions, such as GPS and more sophisticated tracking systems for transport logistics, will remain popular to reduce cargo theft, track assets, and aid rapid responses to threats. We anticipate government purchases will continue through 2021 for body protection and anti-riot equipment, firearms, ammunition, CCTV, transportation and communication equipment, and a range of military equipment. Spending on consumable products will continue.

In specific applications, such as employee ID systems, we see rapid movement to integrated biometrics instead of standard physical credentials and basic smart card applications. Mexico City and many medium-sized cities have installed access control systems and surveillance cameras in many public spaces. In addition, personal protection and private security services continue to expand among corporate and government end-users. The private sector continues to increase its investments in safety and security products and services to protect assets. Budgets regularly include planned expenses, such as contracting new private security services and training, related to safety and security purchases.


Security solutions with business potential include:

  • CCTV
  • Access control solutions
  • Alarms (residential, industrial, buildings)
  • Perimeter protection and surveillance
  • Fire protection systems
  • Smart homes and buildings
  • C3 -C5 maintenance services
  • Anti-drone equipment
  • Communications systems (wireless, internet, GPS, etc.)
  • Integrated security solutions (compatibility/integration services)
  • High-tech night vision tactical equipment
  • Police tactical equipment
  • Communications integration services


Safety-related equipment and services with business potential include the following, (Some of these items may be difficult for U.S. suppliers to sell at competitive prices):

  • Emergency response training
  • Protective gloves, suits, and footwear
  • Facial protection devices
  • Breathing protection equipment for gas and fine dust
  • Protective gear for welding activities and fires
  • Equipment and gear to protect against falling objects and electrical hazards
  • Smoke detectors, fire alarms, and fire suppression systems


National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI)              

Secretariat of Interior (SEGOB)/National System of Civil Protection        

Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC)

Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System (SESNSP)  

AmCham Mexico                                                                                              

National Citizen Observatory (ONC)                                             

Mexico United Against Crime (Mexico Unido Contra la Delincuencia)     

American Association for Industry Security (ASIS) Mexico Chapter          

Latin America Security Association (ALAS) Mexico Chapter       

International Institute for Risk Management (IIAR)/


Expo Seguridad Mexico (ESM) 2023 U.S. Pavilion, Expo Seguridad Industrial, Law Enforcementr Area, and Fire Pavillion), April 18-20, 2023, Mexico City

For more information on the security and safety sectors in Mexico, please contact:

Silvia I. Cárdenas

Commercial Specialist

U.S. Commercial Service—Mexico City

Tel: +52 (55) 5080-2000 ext. 5209