Law enforcement in Mexico City

Coordinates: 19°25′30.5″N 99°7′7.2″W / 19.425139°N 99.118667°W / 19.425139; -99.118667 Law enforcement in Mexico City is provided by two primary agencies; the Secretariat of Public Security of Mexico City (Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de la ciudad de México), who provides uniformed or preventative police, and the Office of the Attorney General of Mexico City (Procuraduría General de Justicia de la ciudad de México) who provides plainclothes detectives and crime lab services.

Secretariat of Public Security

Secretariat of Public Security of Mexico City
Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de la ciudad de México
Common name Mexico City Police
Abbreviation SSP CDMX
Agency overview
Employees 49,526
Annual budget $106 billion pesos (2011)
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction Mexico City, Mexico
Population 8,400,000
Legal jurisdiction Mexico City
General nature • Local civilian agency

Helicopters 12

The Secretariat of Public Security of Mexico City (Spanish: Secretaría de Seguridad Pública la Ciudad de México; SSP) is the uniformed law enforcement agency of Mexico City, headquartered in Venustiano Carranza.[1][2] It manages a combined force of over 100,000 officers in Mexico City.[3]

The Mexico City Police (Policía Ciudad de México) is the police department of Mexico City. Mexico City contains the seat of federal Mexican government. There are 8.84 million residents of the city, 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).[4]


Mexico City has a large 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).[3]

Command and Staff

The organizational structure and holders of area Public Safety Department are:

Secretary of Public Safety (Secretario de Seguridad Pública): Hiram Almeida Estrada

  • Undersecretary Traffic Control (Subsecretaría de Control de Tránsito): Alejandro Martinez Fernando Badillo
  • Undersecretary of Police Operation (Subsecretaría de Operación Policial): Luis Rosales Gamboa
  • Undersecretary for Police Intelligence Information (Subsecretaría de Información de Inteligencia Policial): Juan Carlos Contreras Licona
  • Undersecretary for Institutional Development(Subsecretaría de Desarrollo Institucional): Luis Alfredo Hernández Velázquez
  • Undersecretary for Public Participation and Crime Prevention (Subsecretaría de Participación Ciudadana y Prevención del Delito): Yolanda García Cornejo

Preventive Police

The 34,000 strong Preventive Police are the uniformed police of Mexico City.[5] They are organized into seven major divisions.[3] as follows:

  • Proximity Police (Unidades de Policía de Proximidad) formerly the Citizens Protection (Unidades de Protección Ciudadana) and before that Sector Police (Policía Sectoral) - The 17,000 plus blue uniformed Proximity Police is the largest division and provides community policing services throughout Mexico City. The Proximity 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 of which there are 70.[6]

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

  • The Metropolitan Police (Policía Metropolitana) which consists of five district-wide units:
    • Public Transit Police (Policía de Tránsito): a traffic police force responsible for overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways. It is headed by the Director of Traffic.[7]
    • Tourist Police (Policía Turística): 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 colonias 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.[8][9]
    • Feminine Police (Policía Femenil): The Feminine Police work in schools, with juveniles, at public events and in public parks and gardens.[9][10]
    • Environmental Police (Policia Ambiental):283 men patrol on foot and by horse the nine delegations from the south and west of the City of Mexico, where the ecological reserve is located.[9][11]
  • Emergency Rescue Squad (Escuadron de Rescate y Urgencias Medicas or ERUM).[12]
  • Special Forces (Fuerzas Especiales) consisting of four main groups:
    • Condor Group (Agrupamiento Cóndores formerly called the Escuadron Helicopteros). Equipped with seven Eurocopter AS 350 Ecureuil, one Bell 412, and two Bell 206.[13]
    • 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)[9] - 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):[9][14] The Task Force deals with terrorist, bomb threats, Search and rescue lost or trapped persons.
    • Alfa Group (Agrupamiento Alfa): A secretive, ad hoc force that works with the Special Unit and fights drug trafficking.
    • Grenadiers (Agrupamiento de Granaderos/Cuerpo de Granaderos (Oriente y Poniente)): The 2,000 Grenadiers protect the historic areas of the federal district. They provide Crowd Control, Sector Support to banks, prisons, treasuries, payment offices, government offices, patrolling teams, launch and eviction proceedings, police sporting events, and participate in cultural and religious events with the Police Band and escort dignitaries and VIPs and haul down the flag. In matters of religious worship is involved with security and surveillance mainly Dec. 12 at the Basilica of Guadalupe, Easter, and the Day of the Dead.[9][15]
  • Roadway Security (Seguridad Vial): The Roadway Security maintains a force of 2,600 yellow-uniformed police that patrol the roads and highways.
  • Internal Affairs: Investigates incidents and plausible suspicions of lawbreaking and professional misconduct attributed to officers on the force. Internal affairs can also refer to cases of misconduct and criminal behavior involving police officers.

Complimentary Police

There are two Complementary Police (policías complementarias) 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.[16][17] The Auxiliary Police includes the following:
    • Citizen Protection Units (Unidades de Protección Ciudadana (UPC’s)) 37 UPC's with a total of 14,800 personnel[18] for public housing projects.
    • Reaction Force (Grupo Fuerza Reaccion) of 900 officers specializing in crowd control.[19]
  • Bank Police (Policía Bancaria e Industrial (aka Bancarios)): A 15,000 officers strong force who provides security services, surveillance and specialized protection to public and private corporations based in the Mexico City metropolitan area, such as Service Providers, Banks, Industry, Trade, and Institutions Unit. It also provides services and personal security guard and transport custody of securities, commodities and products, etc.[20][21]

Private Security Directorate

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.

Secretaries of Public Security

Government of Ramón Aguirre Velázquez (1982-1988)

  • (1988): Enrique Jackson

Government of Manuel Camacho Solis (1988 - 1993)

  • (1988 - 1991): Javier García Paniagua
  • (1991 - 1993): Santiago Tapia Aceves

Government of Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas Solórzano (1997 - 1999)

Government of Rosario Robles (1999 - 2000)

Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador (2000 - 2005)

Government Alejandro Encinas Rodríguez (2005 - 2006)

  • (2005 - 2006): Joel Ortega

Government Marcelo Ebrard (2006 - 2012)

  • (2006 - 2008): Joel Ortega
  • (2008 - 2012): Manuel Mondragón y Kalb
  • (2012): Luis Rosales Gamboa (as Charge Dispatch (Encargado de Despacho))

Government of Miguel Angel Mancera (2012 - In office)

  • (2012 - 2014): Jesús Rodríguez Almeida
  • (2014): Luis Rosales Gamboa (as Acting Head)
  • (2014) - present: Hiram Almeida Estrada

Judicial Police of the DF

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 personnel, 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.[22]

Police Corruption and Public Confidence

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.[23] 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

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 worldwide 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. Private security is regulated by the Secretariat of Public Security.

See also


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Library of Congress Country Studies website

  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. 1 2 3 "Mexican Ministry of External Affairs" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  8. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6
  10. Archived from the original on April 12, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. "DF - Reciben Cóndores de SSP-DF nuevo helicóptero". El Universal. 2008-01-23. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  14. Archived from the original on April 6, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. Archived from the original on July 7, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. Archived from the original on March 30, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. "Policia Auxiliar del D.F". Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  18. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. Archived from the original on July 30, 2013. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. "El Portal de la Policía Bancaria e Industrial". Retrieved 2015-10-20.
  21. Archived from the original on March 28, 2015. Retrieved April 12, 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. "Bienvenidos al Sitio de la PGJDF". Retrieved 2015-10-20.
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