Project Description

Security for Expats in Mexico

What Businesses Should Consider

Sicherheit für Expats in Mexico

For many German companies, Mexico is an important location – not only in the automotive industry.

At the same time, apart from the cultural differences, the country has a partially challenging security situation.

Mexico has large thematic and regional differences in the security situation.

That’s what foreign companies say:

Following the survey of a Chamber of Commerce in Mexico, in which many foreign and Mexican companies were interviewed in 2016, they see the main risks in the following areas:

• corruption in public authorities (more pronounced at local level than at federal level)

• Attacks directed against transports or the supply chain

• Blackmail

• Theft by outsiders

• kidnappings

• Violence in the immediate vicinity of the company location

Regionally, these ten states are striking in the face of high security and corporate security challenges, according to this study: Tamaulipas, followed by the state of Mexico, Michoacan, Mexico City, Nuevo-Léon, Guerrero, Jalisco, Veracruz, Sinaloa and Coahuila.

Confidence in the Mexican security authorities is at a very low level. More than 20 percent of foreign companies in Mexico do not bring offenses at all. Even the National Bureau of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) estimates that 95 percent of kidnappings are not reported by those affected. Contrary to popular belief, the risk of ransom hijacking is primarily against Mexicans and not expats.

Particularly epidemic are cases of virtual kidnappings and express kidnappings, which also affect foreigners.

Significant increase in violence in Mexico

Everything indicates that Mexico will have the highest murder rate in the last 20 years in 2017. There are several reasons for the increase in violence: many small criminal groups have emerged from the collapse of the big drug cartels and have engaged in abduction, extortion and robbery due to limited resources.

In addition, new drug cartels are fighting for influence and the need for heroin has risen in the US. Furthermore, the increase in fuel prices in Mexico has led to a further increase in crime guided. In Puebla, which is relatively quiet by Mexican standards, the murder rate in the first three months has risen by 50 percent, compared with the 2011 period, which has so far seen the highest level of killings. The armed struggle between the cartels continues from the north to the south of the country. In Mexico City and holiday destinations, such as Baja California, there has also been an increase in violent drug cartel action. Shootings on supermarket or state-run restaurants, which have not been the scene of open criminals’ struggles, are mounting and jeopardizing bystanders.

In addition, Mexico’s security forces are corrupt and sometimes very inactive. In addition, new governors have been elected in twelve states that have deployed new and inexperienced police chiefs. In 2018, with the upcoming presidential election, a further increase in violence is to be expected.

Nearly seven out of ten expats in Prague (68 percent) are satisfied with the career opportunities there – 19 percentage points more than the global average.

Take concrete measures in advance

Companies that are active in or send employees to Mexico should prepare accordingly. An essential measure for risk minimization, especially for sites and projects on site, should therefore be to increase the safety awareness of the workforce through regular sensitization.

Also, for example, by professionals or external service providers, a position monitoring with regular risk assessment should be performed. Emergency plans at the local level and training of local officials on security issues are essential. Already when recruiting or selecting expats, a security check should be made. External specialized service providers should also undertake site security management (physical security measures, processes, instructions) and the homes of expats and officers.

For business trips to Mexico, a safety assessment for the travel destination as well as safety training for employees is recommended. In addition, these should be picked up locally by your own or other reliable staff from the airport and not take a taxi. A designated security service, with a vehicle that fits into the local streetscape, can also be commissioned.

An evaluation of the hotel should also be carried out in advance, as there are currently signs of an increase in virtual kidnappings against travelers in hotels. It is indispensable for the employee to provide him with a 24/7 emergency number. Only in Johannesburg is the proportion of this group of all expats 19 percent and thus corresponds to the global average.

Gefahr Kidnapping in Mexico

This exceeds even the percentage of expats in Johannesburg who claim to be friends with other expats (15 percent).

A contribution with kind permission of the BDAE group

© Aleksandar Todorovic –
© delbars –