Ministry of Public Security (Mexico City)

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For the federal agency, see Secretariat of Public Security (Mexico).
The Badge of the SSP.

The Ministry of Public Security (Spanish: Secretaría de Seguridad Pública del Distrito Federal; SSP) is the law enforcement agency of Mexico City, headquartered in Venustiano Carranza.[1][2] It manages a combined force of over 100,000 officers in the Federal District (DF).[3]

The Federal District Police (Policial Distrito Federal) is the police department of the Federal District of Mexico. The Federal District (the DF or Distrito Federal) contains the heart of Mexico City and the seat of federal Mexican government. There are 8.84 million residents of the DF, according to 2009 estimates, and another 21.1 million people in the metropolitan region.

The SSP is charged with maintaining public order and safety in the center of Mexico City where public insecurity and crime rates are highest in the nation. As a result, there have been concurrent efforts to increase accountability and improve police effectiveness. Beginning in 1996, authorities began a dramatic restructuring of the SSP, which included replacing major officials with army officers. Recently, the most recent high-profile effort has been Mayor Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s announcement in 2002 that the DF would contract former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as a consultant to the SSP.

The SSP also regulates the huge private security industry in the DF and operates the Animal Control Unit (Brigada de Vigiliancia Animal).


The DF stands out for having one of the lowest crime rates in Mexico,[4] as well as a huge uniformed "preventive police" force of approximately 34,000 officers, not to mention 40,000 auxiliary police and 15,000 banking police. These nearly 90,000 officers work for the Secretariat of Public Security of the DF (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública – SSP DF). In 2011, the SSP had a budget of about $106 billion pesos (an increase from the previous year's $89 billion pesos) and is organized into six major divisions.[3]

School Protection police vehicle

Preventive Police - DF Organization[edit]

The 34,000 strong Preventive Police are the uniformed police of Mexico City. They are organized as follows:

  • Sectoral Police (Policía Sectoral)- The largest division is the blue uniformed Sectoral Police providing community policing throughout Mexico City. The Sectoral Police consists of slightly less than half of the total Preventive Police and they are distributed geographically across six main regions, each with around three precincts for a total of 16 precincts. Each precinct is then subdivided into a number of sectors. There are a total of 70 sectors.

The remaining five divisions of the Preventive Police, containing over 17,000 officers, are organized as follows:

  • The Metropolitan Police (Policía Metropolitana), consists of six special units:
    • Public Transit Police
    • Tourist Police: The Tourist Police gives information on laws, customs and cultural attractions in the local community as well as tourist attractions. Officers of the Tourist Police wear a distinctive green uniform and speak English as well as some other European languages. They can be called upon for all kinds of situations, such as road traffic accidents, theft, disputes with hotels or shop keepers where a foreign tourist is involved. They will also act as arbitrators in disputes, and are supposed to do so in an unbiased fashion.
    • Mounted Police (Agrupamiento A Caballo) - provides security and protection in parks, gardens and green areas. Also guard the Eastern Prison, and when sporting, social and artistic monitor forums where they performed. They also assist in the conduct and monitoring of mass events, such as: marches, demonstrations, sit-ins and rallies. Also, there is security guard in the colonies and housing units increased crime rate. Mounted police are also responsible for directing the operation of horse detachments of the Ministry of Public Security to support dismounted elements and mobile groups, subject to established devices.
    • Feminine Police (Policía Femenil): The Feminine Police work in schools, with juveniles, at public events and in public parks and gardens.
  • Emergency Rescue Squad (Escuadron de Rescate y Urgencias Medicas or ERUM).
  • Special Squadrons (Fuerzas Especiales) consisting of four main groups:
    • Helicopter Squadron (Agrupamiento Cóndores formerly called the Escadron Elicopteros). Equipped with seven Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil, one Bell 412, and two Bell 206.[5]
    • Special Unit (Buczo Especial): A specialized unit responsible for combined duties involving traffic enforcement, crowd control, and special weapons and tactics (SWAT) services within the city. One unique feature of the unit is that it relies on the use of motorcycles in their daily patrols allowing the unit to perform routine traffic enforcement, accompany parades, crowds, and visiting dignitaries, and to quickly travel to situations wherein the unit's SWAT skills are requested. Specialized trucks and support vehicles are also used to transport equipment and officers when needed.
      • Acrobatic Group (Escuadron Acrobatico) - Founded in the twenties, by officers of the Germandería Motorized with Harley Davidson motorcycles of 1200 cm3 and a weight of 420 kg
    • Task Force (Agrupamiento Fuerza de Tarea): The Task Force deals with terrorist, bomb threats, Search and rescue lost or trapped persons.
    • Alfa Group: A secretive, ad hoc force that works with the Special Unit and fights drug trafficking.
  • Roadway Security (Seguridad Vial): The Roadway Security maintains a force of brown-uniformed police that patrol the roads and highways.
  • Internal Affairs
Police band

Complimentary Police[edit]

Then there is the Complementary Police which operates under the supervision of the SSP, yet is not considered to be a part of the Preventive Police. The Complementary Police contains two Security Police forces:

  • Auxiliary Police (Policía Auxiliar): A security police force of approximately 40,000 officers that guards official buildings and other specific locations like the airport. On May 20, 2005, published in the Official Gazette of the Federal District's Internal Regulations of the Ministry of Public Security of the Federal District, which states that provide Supplemental Police protective services, custody and security of people and property values and property to, entities and bodies of the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the Federal District and Federal, federal and local self-government bodies as well as individuals and corporations, on payment of the consideration to be determined. Includes the following:
    • Reaction Force (Grupo Fuerza Reaccion) of 900 officers specializing in crowd control.
    • Grenadiers (Agrupamiento de Granaderos): 1,000 Grenadiers protect the historic areas of the district.
  • Bank Police (Policía Bancaria e Industrial aka Bancarios): A 15,000 officers strong force that guards businesses, financial institutions and banks.

Private Security Directorate[edit]

The Directorate General of Private Security and Systematic Operating Procedures (la dirección general de seguridad privada y procedimientos sistemáticos de operación), regulates the activities and the provision of private security services in Mexico City, to ensure that such operations take place under the best conditions of efficiency, reliability, professionalism and legal and financial support for the benefit of the population.

Judicial Police of the DF[edit]

The DF is also unique for maintaining its own force of judicial police, the Judicial Police of the Federal District (Policía Judicial del Distrito Federal – PJDF), which are organized under the Office of the Attorney General of the DF (the Procuraduría General de Justicia del Distrito Federal). The PGJDF receives complaints and reports of possible crimes and investigates them.

The PGJDF maintains 16 precincts (delegaciones) with an estimated 3,500 judicial police, which includes 1,100 investigating agents for prosecuting attorneys (agentes del ministerio público), and 941 experts or specialists (peritos).

The PGJDF budget exceeds $3 billion pesos each year.

Police Corruption and Public Confidence[edit]

Corruption and severe inefficiency plague the Mexican police. Further, low pay and lack of resources have hindered efforts at improving police performance, battling corruption and professionalizing the forces. A related lack of public confidence has further eroded the ability of the police to respond to crime: A survey in 1999 found that 90% of respondents in Mexico City had “little” or “no” trust in the police. Such a lack of public confidence translates into a lack of support—that is, an unwillingness to report crimes or assist in investigations, which is crucial to solving crimes. Nationwide, only 12% of the population has expressed confidence in the police.

In 2002, an advocacy group (Transparency International) estimated that the median Mexican household spends 8% of its income on bribes (mordidas or “bites”). According to the president of the CCE (Spanish: Consejo Coordinador Empresarial; CCE), businesses spend 10% of their income in bribes.[6] On the TI scale, Mexico ranks 57th worldwide in perception of corruption, one notch better than China at 58 and well below Brazil and Peru at 45. In 1997, Mexico ranked 47th; in 1998, 55th. A management consulting firm (A.T. Kearney) reported, also in 2002, that Mexico’s attractiveness to foreign investors dropped, from fifth to ninth place worldwide, due to concerns with corruption and crime.

Private security[edit]

Mexican and Mexico City security companies have grown significantly in recent years, in response to the state’s failure to provide security. Mexico holds third place world-wide in the purchase of security equipment. Between 1998 and 1999, private security companies increased some 40 percent. The Mexican federal and state governments has had serious problems in regulating these companies, most of which are illegitimate since they lack the necessary legal permits. It was estimated in 1999, that about 10,000 private security firms operated in Mexico, yet only 2,000 had some form of official permit. According to official figures in December 2000, there were 2,984 private security companies registered with 153,885 employees. The inability to regulate or control these forces creates potential security problem. Since many of these companies are unregulated, some will engage in criminality instead of (or as a means of) protecting their clients, thus exacerbating the problem of insecurity. According to a study by the Mexico City legislative assembly, in 1998 there were more private security guards than police. A substantial number of private security guards were formerly police officers or presently work as security guards while off-duty; these dynamics increase the likelihood of police corruption.

See also[edit]


 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies.

  1. ^ "Management Report." Mexico City Police Department. July 2008-July 2009. Retrieved on December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ "Directorio Telefónico S.S.P.." Ministry of Public Security. Retrieved on December 12, 2010. "Sidar y Rovirosa número 169 - Col. El Parque - C. P. 15970 - Deleg. Venustiano Carranza - Tel. 5722 89 00 Ext. 8959"
  3. ^ a b "[1]." Mexican Ministry of External Affairs. Retrieved on November 23, 2012.
  4. ^ "[2]." Centro de Investigación para el Desarrollo A.C. Retrieved on November 23, 2012
  5. ^
  6. ^ "[3]" Asis Internacional. Retrieved on November 23, 2012

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