Private Security Amid the PandemicBy Alejandro Enríquez | Thu, 08/06/2020 - 11:08
"2020 will be an atypical year and even tragic. In addition to the more than 500,000 lives lost as a consequence of the pandemic, the generalized suspension of different sectors at the global level had unprecedented consequences for investors, business and employees," said Jorge Uribe, Commercial Director of Grupo IPS to Mexico Business News. Grupo IPS is a private security firm that provides services to industrial players. The Mexican company offers alert systems, GPS tracking, armed and unarmed guard services to financial, automotive, mining and manufacturing companies.
"When talking about security, economic uncertainty, income reduction and social stress will lead to an increase in crimes, violent and non-violent," says Uribe. BBC reported that during April, when most lockdown measures were enforced, crime figures hit historic marks. On Apr. 20, 114 homicides took place, which is the highest figure in 2020, so far. Murders were committed despite lockdown measures implemented by the government. BBC called it "the second epidemic." Although other common crimes saw reduced numbers, according to the Mexican Ministry of Security, on June 2020 there was an average 16.4 percent increase in national crimes, mostly in 27 states.
According to Uribe, in this context, private security remains an essential activity. "On the one hand, it supports the efforts of public forces while being a guarantee for companies to resume operations safely, protecting every single asset," Uribe says. In his participation in Mexico Automotive Review 2019/20, Armando Zúñiga, CEO of Grupo IPS highlighted that "insecurity is a large concern for the automotive industry and it is impacted greatly by the theft of products on highways and extortion of personnel," he says.
Different ways to implement remote surveillance systems are increasing as they can detect risk situations before the crime is finished. "With these systems, specialized monitors can respond to the very first signals of a crime," Uribe says. Zúñiga also mentioned during his interview the technologies Grupo IPS has developed to reduce theft on highways. "What usually happens is that thieves use signal inhibitors to block GPS tracking devices that use phone signals. This is how most cars are stolen. We developed a new device that sends an alert to the driver and company as soon as the signal from the GPS is blocked, allowing them to take preventive actions instantly,” he says.
Amid the pandemic, Uribe agrees that it is important for companies to abide to health standards and social distancing measures that protect the company’s staff, while recognizing the efforts all security personnel has made to keep facilities secure and safe. "Despite all protection equipment employed, the possibility of contagion is not eliminated. All people that work in the health, food and security sector, beyond the necessary acknowledgement, deserve that their incomes and working conditions are to be reconsidered. This should be the year that sets a before and after in dignifying the working benefits they receive," he says.
You can the full interview with Armando Zúñiga for Mexico Automotive Review 2019/20 here