Crime & Justice

Mexico’s security industry diversifies amid rising violence

Mexico City, Jul 23 (EFE).- The Mexican security industry has diversified over the past few years amid rising violence in the country to provide lighter bulletproof vests, virtually impenetrable glass and protection for vehicles.

“The most recent sector was the freight transport sector. It increased a lot. It was a sector that was not armored and that today is one of the main players,” Daniel Portugal, treasurer and advisor of the National Council of the Ballistics Industry, told EFE on Friday.

The various companies that make up this association founded four years ago met on Friday at a shooting range on the outskirts of Mexico City to test the most resistant materials on the market, which can lend protection even from weapons such as AK-47s.

“There has been a lot of increase in insecurity and we have seen that other types of businesses have been armored,” Portugal said.

The industry has also seen an increasing demand for vehicle armor and also in the architectural sector to protect access to houses and businesses that have a lot of value inside, such as jewelry stores.

“You can shield gas stations, grocery stores… any place that has a point of risk can be shielded,” Portugal explained.

One of the biggest challenges of the industry is to reduce the weight of the armor, which is why bulletproof vests are being made increasingly lighter and can even be hidden inside clothes.

Over the last decade, the weight of these products have been reduced by between 27 percent and 35 percent.

“Before, putting on a shield or an armored vest meant not being able to move. You walked very rigid. And now the armor made for the vest is much more ergonomic and it is much more comfortable to use,” Portugal said.

Armor plating depends on the composition of the materials and not on their thickness, which is why 45-millimeter thick laminated glass can be shattered by bullets or hammers, but a shield made of 12mm thick polycarbonate plastic won’t be.

An increase in violence in Mexico has also led to a proliferation of security companies that are neither certified nor comply with international standards, according to the National Council of the Ballistics Industry.

“There are a lot of frauds out there, many partial shields that put the users’ lives at risk,” Portugal warned.

The first two years of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government has been among the most violent in the country’s history, with 34,681 murders in 2019 and 34,554 in 2020.

A total of 2,963 murders were reported in May, making it the most violent month of 2021 so far. EFE


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