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Executive Protection: the fatal resistance to change

On Sunday, March 17, there was yet another tragic event for our profession. The Pátzcuaro regional commissioner of the Michoacán Public Security Secretariat, México Cristal García Hurtado, and two of her bodyguards lost their lives in a brutal attack on the Zirahuén-San Juan Tumbio highway.

The victims were ruthlessly murdered, and after turning on the patrol car they were in, their bodies were decapitated. This act of violence took place near the town of Santa Ana Chapitiro.

According to official sources, an armed group intercepted them, forced them to get out of the vehicle and killed them. The commissioner was decapitated in this tragic event.

This unfortunate incident is one in a series of attacks that have occurred over the past 19 months. During this time, in Mexico alone, 15 executives and 31 of their escorts have been killed. The executives and their escorts have been massacred in each attack, even when accompanied by up to 10 agents armed with long guns.

Reflecting on what went wrong in this case, the answer is simple: the same thing that went wrong in the 14 previous cases. Executive Protection is conceived and practiced only as armed escorts who follow the protégé around without any strategy, waiting to react at the last moment.

Improvisation, ignorance and a good dose of arrogance that assumes that one knows what one does not know, generate these disastrous results. Victims are accumulating and it is still not understood that executive protection must take place far from the protected, both in time and space. For this the most important tool is proper communication and persuasion of the executive to achieve actions that reduce their risks. Once this is achieved, intelligence, counterintelligence, counter-surveillance, protective logistics, early warning and everything that reduces the vulnerability and accessibility of the executive to different threats must be known and applied. It is very unfortunate that, despite the number of victims, it is still not understood that changes in executive protection have no alternative. Only in this way can we make this profession safer for both protectees and protectors.

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Executive Protection: Alarming inability to detect gross surveillance

Hostile surveillance detection is clearly the Achilles heel of current executive protection, as in all the high-impact attacks and kidnappings in recent years in Latin America, criminals conducted prolonged surveillance of their victims without being detected, even though this surveillance was quite obvious and careless.

In a study on the subject, the famous Straford agency refers to the following:

"Given that hostile surveillance is so widely practiced, it is surprising to consider that, in general, criminals and terrorists are terrible at carrying it out. There are some exceptions, such as the relatively sophisticated surveillance conducted by Greenpeace and some other groups trained by the Ruckus Society, or the discreet and highly detailed surveillance conducted by some high-level art and jewelry thieves, but such cases are the exception rather than the norm."

Indeed, high-level jewel thieves, such as Olivera Cirkovic, the redeemed former leader of the Pink Panther gang, was highly sophisticated in surveilling her targets, to the extent that she installed video cameras in the parking lot of a jeweler in Athens whom she eventually kidnapped. But such sophisticated groups are rare.

So Straford is right: in general, criminals are very bad at carrying out hostile surveillance. We can give two recent examples from Ecuador: the mayor of Manta Agustín Intriago was assassinated in 2023 after being watched by the same little truck allegedly selling water for more than 15 days, without anyone noticing.

Likewise, recent investigations into the assassination of former Ecuadorian presidential candidate Fernando Villavicencio revealed that the site of the event where he was to be assassinated had been staked out in a stolen vehicle in the days prior to the assassination. Now, no sophisticated criminal vigilante is going to carry out this activity in a stolen vehicle, as this exposes him to immediate detection by specialized teams and also to possible chance arrests during the hostile surveillance operation-thus compromising the entire operation for free.

Professional criminals use stolen vehicles at the time of the attack only in order to avoid being traced, abandoning them shortly thereafter in pre-planned locations, but never to surveil the target.

Now, as much as Straford rightly points out the criminals' lack of sophistication in hostile surveillance, the unfortunate thing is that they don't need more! Why would the criminals invest time, money and effort in setting up a sophisticated surveillance system with multiple agents, vehicles and other coordinated resources if the same water truck for weeks on end is enough? Why would they care about the stolen vehicle if no one notices it anyway?

There is no need for them to be more discreet and careful, as their effort and sophistication match the need. However, they clearly have no need to do so, as the protectors lack the most basic knowledge of surveillance detection techniques, and counter-surveillance is not part of their standard procedures.

The good news is that protectors, if they decide to learn this important and obvious lesson and start implementing these techniques, will really need only the basics to detect criminal surveillance very easily, and thus dismantle the attack safely and well in advance.

Of course, over time, criminals will become more sophisticated in surveilling their victims, but this will require them to involve many more resources, people and logistics, and this too would be no guarantee against a trained counter-surveillance team. Moreover, setting up effective counter-surveillance, if done well, is much easier and cheaper than setting up sophisticated hostile surveillance. We teach this in detail in our courses.
If the protectors take the battle to this terrain, they have a significant advantage over the enemy. And most importantly: in the analogy of a soccer field, the game would take place in the middle of the field and not in front of the goal, as was the case until now, where goals were conceded at all times.

Shifting the weight of the operation to counter-surveillance, along with intelligence, protective logistics and early warning in a structured manner, will make our profession safer for both protectees and protectors.

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Attack in Bogota - The "driver/escort" does not exist!

Time and time again over the years I have repeated that the "chauffeur/escort" concept is cost-saving but ineffective, as one person cannot do two things at once or be in two places at the same time. A trained chauffeur can be very effective in reducing risks in transfers, but cannot cover the higher risk situations that seams statistically represent. I have explained this in detail in this video:

This is confirmed by the unfortunate attack that occurred on February 21 of this year in Bogota, Colombia, when businessman Hernán Roberto Franco was murdered upon arriving at his work in Parque de la 93, an exclusive area of the Colombian capital. In a security video circulating in social networks, we can see the moment when the businessman's vehicle arrives in front of the office door, he gets out of the vehicle and enters through the door, right in what we call the seam. At that instant, the assassin approaches, shoots the executive and flees. At that moment, the "driver/escort" comes out with his gun and shoots the fleeing assassin, who had already killed his protégé.

In social networks, many colleagues criticized the work of the "driver/escort" and, of course, the situation in general had several flaws. However, the fundamental flaw lies in the concept that a single person can do the job that should be done by at least two agents: the driver is responsible for reducing risks in transfers and having the vehicle in operationally convenient locations, while the escort protects the seams and the rest of the movements on foot. Protecting the seams, these high-risk exposures where most attacks occur, is no easy task. Recall that several Secret Service agents were unable to stop a single attacker at the seams during the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. So what can we expect from a single "driver/escort" who is asked to defy the laws of physics by being in two places at the same time, and also be held accountable for failing to do so? The "driver/escort" works fine as long as nothing happens, but when the attacks occur, the shortcomings translate into loss of life. A similar case occurred in Mexico when businessman Martin Rodriguez was killed in January 2021 as he left his gym.

The "driver/escort" concept saves money but generates a false sense of security, something that Mr. Hernan Roberto Franco paid for with his life. It is time to take executive protection seriously, to stop improvising and thus save both the lives of the protected and the lives of the protectors.

Attack in Bogota - The "driver/escort" does not exist! Read More »

Restaurants: the new "favorite" place for hired assassins Five keys to reduce risks in public establishments

In 2020, Aristoteles Sandoval, former governor of the State of Jalisco, Mexico, was murdered in the bathroom of a bar in Puerto Vallarta. In 2022, Salvador Llamas, former director of Seapal, was executed in a restaurant in Guadalajara. In 2023, the police commander of Zapopan, Jalisco, was killed in a cafeteria. In February 2024, two hitmen killed a mining businessman in a restaurant in Aguascalientes and a few days later, lawyer Bernardo Aguirre was executed in the restaurant of a luxury hotel in Monterrey.

In all these cases, the attackers posed as customers before carrying out their attacks.

In the day-to-day operations of traditional executive protection, for reasons I cannot explain, protectors considered restaurants as "sacred places", that is, magically protected spaces where no evil influence could penetrate. It was customary to take the executive to the restaurant, determine his seat and wait outside until he came out, believing that nothing would happen to him inside. However, as with many practices in traditional executive protection, this was unfounded, as these unfortunate examples demonstrate.

We can observe that the modus operandi of the assassins is to arrive at the restaurant, sometimes before and sometimes after the victim, sit in a place from where they can have the necessary view and proximity to their target, carry out the aggression when the victim is distracted and escape quickly in vehicles that were already waiting for them.

Here we can identify several flaws in the operational structure:

Intelligence: in several of the cases, there was no clear awareness of the scope of the threat, nor were the intentions and capabilities of the individuals and groups posing the threat known.
2. Counter-intelligence: in several cases, the assassins knew in advance where the victim would be, and this information came from his close circle.
3. Counter-surveillance: in other cases, particularly in the case of the Zapopan police commander, the killers knew the victim's routine, which shows that she was watched by the criminals for a prolonged period of time without realizing it.
4. Situational awareness: in the recent case of the mining businessman, the two killers were seated in the restaurant, at a nearby table, with hats and masks on. It is not possible to eat with masks on, which, together with the caps, evidences that their intention was not to eat, but to hide their identity in order to commit a crime, without attracting anyone's attention.
5. Protective logistics: what is common in all the above cases is that the restaurants, bars and cafeterias where the murders occurred were located in relatively fluid avenues at the times of the attacks, and were establishments easily accessible from the street, which greatly facilitated the escape of the criminals. In planning an attack, having an easy and quick getaway is the most critical and important thing for the criminals, because if the getaway is complicated, the criminal may be shot, wounded or even arrested, which could expose both the material and intellectual authors of the murder, which is the main concern of any criminal group. Therefore, the choice of restaurant is key to reducing risks. It is important to look for a location where the criminals during the escape will be exposed for a prolonged time to the actions of security agents and police, as well as cameras, and where traffic conditions at the given time are not favorable for the escape. This may include shopping malls or other similar locations, depending on the specific circumstances in each case, which must be previously studied. These factors significantly reduce the risks, and it is of utmost importance that the executive is aware of these principles. Since he or she is the one who decides on the locations, it is important that they are informed about the impact this has on their protection system. In addition, the location where the protégé is to sit should be one that is out of sight and out of the way, and should also allow for easy escape. In this type of threat, the protectors should be strategically placed on the table(s) that will allow observation and, if necessary, cover and evacuation of the protégé.

It is no longer enough to just take the protégé to lunch and wait for him or her outside the establishment. Threats have changed and so must the way we operate in order to make our profession safer and safer for both protégés and protectors.

Restaurants: the new "favorite" place for hired assassins Five keys to reduce risks in public establishments Read More »

What is the escort vehicle for?

In one of my recent publications, I addressed the serious risk of the lead vehicle and the escort vehicle arriving at the "seam" together. This mistake, as serious as it is frequent, has claimed many lives, the most notorious case being that of Mexican businessman Carlos Bildmart in August 2022. For this reason, I pointed out as one of the solutions to advance the escort vehicle to the "seam" in advance, to detect the ambush and prevent the executive from falling into the trap. For more information on the subject, you can watch this video:

On social media, one of my colleagues commented that this makes no sense, since "who will protect the lead vehicle if the escort goes ahead?" This statement reflects a bias, a false belief that lacks foundation. The idea that the escort vehicle stuck behind actually protects the lead vehicle is wrong.


Traditional executive protection has parroted this concept without understanding why for decades. However, in real-world conditions, this concept has proven fatal. Between 2022 and 2023, in Mexico alone, 14 protégés and 29 escorts were assassinated, and in most of these attacks the strategy of having the escort car attached to the back was used, a strategy that has been to no avail. In the aforementioned case of Bildmart, the businessman was killed along with five escorts who were following him closely in the vehicle. Similarly, in October 2023, police commander Alfredo Alonso López was killed along with ten escorts armed with long weapons in a vehicle that was attached to the back.


The tailgating concept is not only ineffective, but is also frequently used by criminals to neutralize escorts through the famous "billiards" strategy, where criminals collide or cause the escort vehicle to collide with the lead vehicle, quickly neutralizing both. This occurs especially when the escorts do not wear seat belts, which unfortunately still happens. This strategy is very common and was first documented in Germany in 1977 during the kidnapping of German trade unionist Hans Martin Schleyer. I have described many other examples in my book "Executive Protection in the 21st Century: The New Doctrine".

The most important and counter-intuitive rule of modern executive protection says: "what clusters does not protect". We may think that surrounding the protégé with agents and vehicles will protect him, but in reality the opposite is true. It is much easier to ambush two vehicles together than those moving at coordinated, planned distances and with a specific operational purpose. This is the great flaw in the concept of close protection, for by placing protectors close together, we are forcing them to act at the last moment when, usually, all is lost. Of course, I do not mean to say that the vehicle behind is totally useless, as there are cases where it has worked. However, its effectiveness is statistically very low and does not justify all the disadvantages and risks involved.

It is important to remember that, according to studies, the effectiveness of all reactive measures is only 3.7%, which is totally ineffective.

It is essential that the escort vehicle be used in a preventive rather than reactive manner. The positions adopted by the escort vehicle will depend on the study of the route in each displacement. In some circumstances, it will be behind, in others ahead, or parallel, but all will be based on an analysis that justifies its position at any given time, and not simply stuck behind the lead vehicle for no clear reason. When studying the route, we realize that criminals cannot ambush at any point along the route, but only in specific locations. Therefore, we chose to send the protection vehicle to those points in advance to detect the ambush and avoid falling into the trap. However, having it in the back does not provide much protection.

So, to the question of who protects the lead vehicle when we overtake the escort to the "seam". the answer is our proper risk assessment. We leave the lead vehicle "unprotected" in an area where an ambush is not possible or likely to occur, to send it to check the high risk ambush area ahead of time, preemptively. The lead vehicle is protected by the fact that at that place and time there is no one to attack it, and this is the result of our study and planning.

As you can see, modern executive protection is based on analysis and critical and structured thinking, not on brute force and reactive actions that can only yield results if the attackers are more or less inept, which, unfortunately, is less and less the case in Latin America.

There is an urgent need to change the way executive protection is understood and practiced to make it safer for both protectees and protectors.

What is the escort vehicle for? Read More »

Peruvian President's son's bodyguards assaulted and robbed of their weapons

On Monday, January 8, at around 10:30 p.m., in the city of Lima, Peru, three criminals assaulted two policemen who were working as bodyguards for the son of the Peruvian president, Dina Boluarte, while they were guarding his home.

According to Peru's Interior Minister Victor Torres, the two policemen "were half asleep" in the vehicle parked outside the home of Boluarte's son.

 

Several security camera videos released by local media show that the escorts' car was parked when another vehicle pulled up next to it. An apparently armed person got out of the car and assaulted the escorts, robbing them of their service weapons, as well as their cell phones, a watch, documents and personal cards. The assailants then fled in an unknown direction.

You don't need to be an expert in Executive Protection to realize the serious mistakes made by the protectors in this case. The most basic rule of personal safety is not to remain seated in a parked vehicle, much less while asleep. A large number of robberies and assaults occur to people in this position, making it statistically one of the most dangerous positions in the world. Not only did the escorts lack executive protection techniques, but they also lacked the most basic knowledge of personal safety.

Of course, this attack was not a coincidence. The criminals observed the bodyguards for several days or perhaps months before the assault without them realizing it, analyzed their behaviors, habits and surely realized that they had the tendency to be "half asleep" while guarding the president's son.

One of the frequent and serious mistakes made by protectors is to meet and talk once they have left the executive at their destination, completely ignoring their essential tasks. During standby time, protectors should set up observation points with proper separation between them, depending on operational circumstances, performing potential threat identification, deterrence, trying to detect hostile surveillance, etc. Being together and conversing exponentially increases the risks, but being asleep in a vehicle is the ultimate lack of professionalism.

Unfortunately, this is not the first case of this type. On August 6, the weapons of the Guatemalan president's bodyguards were also stolen, and there have been several cases in different Latin American countries where bodyguards were assaulted and even killed to take their weapons. This is just one of several ways in which the use of firearms can increase risks rather than reduce them in Executive Protection.

In this particular case, it is important to note that the protectors were police officers assigned to Executive Protection duties, which is a mistake as serious as it is frequent. We have seen the unfortunate results of these schemes in the assassination of Fernando Villavicencio in Ecuador, to mention just one example. There is a widespread fallacy that Executive Protection can be practiced by any police or military officer. This fallacy is claiming many lives. Executive protection is a sui generis profession that has its own methodology and specialized doctrine with specific skills and knowledge. Accepting this reality and training protectors accordingly will make our profession much more valued and, most importantly, much safer.

Peruvian President's son's bodyguards assaulted and robbed of their weapons Read More »

Incident with Biden's motorcade: Coincidence or a set-up?

On the evening of Sunday, December 17, as U.S. President Joe Biden and the First Lady were leaving an event with campaign staff in Wilgminton, Delaware, a vehicle struck a pickup truck that was part of the presidential convoy, used to block a street during the event.

The incident occurred just as the president was leaving his campaign headquarters, at a distance of 40 meters, while walking on a "seam". Both the president and Secret Service agents stopped in surprise upon hearing the crash, directing their attention to the noise for almost 4 seconds, until they "woke up" and evacuated the president in his armored vehicle.

Some users on social networks tried to justify the behavior of the agents; however, one cannot defend the indefensible. The "seams," i.e., the exposures to the higher-risk environment generated by walking to or from a vehicle, are scenarios where most of the attacks on prominent public figures, including U.S. presidents, have occurred. There is no reason why these exposures should not be overcome as quickly as possible under normal conditions and, even more so, if something extraordinary happens at such times, as was the case that night. It may be understandable for an officer to stand by to assess the threat, but the protégé has no business standing exposed at a "seam," but must be evacuated immediately.

Instead, both the president and the agents remained distracted, like curious observers, prolonging their exposure in the most statistically dangerous situation for the protégé. It took the Secret Service agents almost four seconds to "wake up" and evacuate the president in his armored vehicle.

We explain more about the "seams" in this video:

However, there is something even more worrying in this situation. Shortly before the attack on Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic in 2003, a motorist crashed his vehicle into the Serbian leader's convoy. At the time, it all seemed like a completely benign incident; however, it turned out that this incident was a "set-up", a reaction test by the criminals to gauge the response of the victim's security team, which was executed shortly thereafter.

You can learn more about the "tune-ups" in this video:

The White House reported that, in this case, it was an alcoholic driver and that it was a casual incident. Let us hope so, although we also know that in the protection of a president nothing can be taken lightly, and Secret Service specialists are aware of that. There are certainly many lessons to be learned from this incident. All of us who do operational work know that we make mistakes in our missions. Secret Service agents, despite the myth that surrounds them, are human beings like all of us, with successes as well as opportunities for improvement. Mistakes happen in operations, so it is important to learn lessons and improve procedures to minimize the damage they can cause.

Hopefully this incident is just an isolated case; however, if it was a "tune-up", I am sure the officers will gain valuable lessons that will make them more effective in the future.

Incident with Biden's motorcade: Coincidence or a set-up? Read More »

Why don't protectors react as trained in real situations?

Article written by
Ivan Ivanovich and Dr. Cecilio Andrade.

For decades, the training that has defined executive protection has been the use of firearms and hand-to-hand combat techniques. Course advertisements are replete with practitioners firing with all types of weapons and practicing various martial techniques, from krav maga to Brazilian jujitsu. These basic trainings are mandatory for all protectors, from employees of small security companies to members of renowned protection institutions such as the U.S. Secret Service, Israeli Security, British Security, Japanese Security, to name a few.

But what happens to all these outstanding protectors when faced with a surprise attack at close range in real situations, such as public events or other types of exhibitions? One would assume that these highly trained agents would draw their weapons and fire effective shots, or use some of the techniques of krav maga or aikido to subdue the aggressors. However, this does not happen in real situations.

We have analyzed 132 cases of attacks against prominent public figures in the last 123 years in 60 countries, and to our surprise, we found that in the cases where there was a surprise attack at close range none of the protectors analyzed, including the most famed members of the US Secret Service or Israeli Security, failed to draw their weapons to defend their protégés or use any of the sophisticated martial arts techniques they had been taught. They all did only one thing: they rushed at the armed attacker, even when he was shooting at their protégé (or even after he had killed him), and knocked him to the ground American soccer style, without using any particular technique. This happened in Russia in 1918, in Japan in 2023, in Italy in 1926, in Germany in 1990, in the United States in 1933, in Israel in 1995, in South Africa in 1960 and in France in 2002, to mention just a few examples that show that, regardless of their nationality, distance in time, country, continent, type of training, type of weaponry, operational conditions, age, etc., they all carried out the same action, totally opposite to what they had been taught.

It is relevant to mention that, despite the great danger this represented and how exposed they were, none of the protectors were injured or killed when executing this action, and they always succeeded in subduing the aggressor, although in many cases the aggressor had already killed the protégé, as in the case of the Prime Minister of Israel Yitzah Rabin in 1995 and the former Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe in 2022.

Simplifying, we can say that there are two types of reactions: learned reactions and instinctive reactions. Learned reactions are those that protectors acquire through practice and repetition. These are the reactions of drawing the weapon and firing, blocking and striking, or performing a key or control technique, among others. Instinctive reactions are those that come to us from the dawn of humanity, where the most primitive system of the human brain acts, which focuses mainly on activating our arms and hands to put them between the threat and the rest of our body in order to protect it (of course there are many other instinctive reactions, but we highlight this one for the purposes of this brief informative article).

What is evident is that, in such rapid attacks and at such short distances, the most primitive system takes over, blocks all other learned reactions and activates the most primitive reactions to eliminate the threat. Without time to think, analyze or even assess the danger, the protector lunges at the attacker with the instinct of a predator, just as a lion pounces on a gazelle, knocks it to the ground and overpowers it. The study shows that no matter how much training is done in these specific situations, all training will be blocked and the most primitive reaction will prevail.

It is important to adapt the training of executive protection agents to take into account these primitive and evolutionary reactions. We cannot control these impulses, but we can manage them and redirect them toward more effective responses. It is necessary to look for ways of training that allow us to direct these instinctive impulses toward more appropriate actions in real executive protection situations. Achieving results in these trainings is certainly difficult, but not impossible.

We need to base both our operations and training on real studies and experiences, to abandon the movie fantasies that have caused so much damage, and to create a real and effective training and operation that will make this profession more effective and safer for both protectees and protectors.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

These reactions occur in the specific operating conditions described above. In other situations and circumstances the learned reactions are effective and necessary.

This article is made in collaboration with Dr. Cecilio Andrade, a recognized international expert in security and executive protection of Spanish origin.

https://cecilioandrade.blogspot.com/

Why don't protectors react as trained in real situations? Read More »

The 7 keys to the murder of the commissioner in Zapopan

On November 13, in Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico, Commissioner Carlos Manuel Flores Amezcua, who held the position of Deputy Operational Director of the Zapopan Police Station, was murdered. That same day, explicit videos of his unfortunate execution were widely disseminated on social networks.

Around 10 a.m., on the terrace of the Ganik cafeteria, located on Patria Avenue, four people were seated at two different tables: a man and a woman at each table. At one of the tables, the couple appeared to be working on a laptop. When the commissioner entered the establishment, with his back to the diners, the four people pulled out their weapons and killed him, quickly fleeing the place. It is mentioned that Carlos Flores had a bodyguard, but he does not appear in any of the videos and his actions are unknown.

We do not have enough information to analyze this unfortunate event in depth, however, it is important to highlight some important elements:

1. The sheriff arrived at the site without concern and without awareness of any threat. This is evidenced by his lack of robust security, which would have been necessary had he known of the threat. Even his escort, which he is mentioned to have had, was absent. This confirms the facetious but true phrase that "if you're not paranoid, it doesn't mean you're not being followed." "Healthy" paranoia is necessary in high-risk positions such as that of the commissioner.

2. It is not known for sure why the commissioner went to that cafeteria, but according to journalistic sources, it was his usual place to have coffee. This proves once again that the victim was followed and his behavior was analyzed for a prolonged period of time, without him or his escort detecting anything.

The Power of Counter-Surveillance: What Criminals Fear More Than Guns

3. The attack occurred again in a "seam", which highlights the importance of analyzing and strengthening these key points in the operational work. This highlights the importance of analyzing and strengthening these key points in operational work.

4. The joint arrival of the protector and protégé on the scene proves useless, since at that moment not much can be done. This was even more clearly evidenced in the attack against Carlos Bildmart. It is vital that protectors be at critical locations and times well in advance of the protégé's arrival. Even if the assassins were perfectly camouflaged, the early presence of the "shadow agents" could have detected the logistical deployment of the attackers, which involved more vehicles and, according to newspaper reports, more heavily armed criminals in one of the vans.

The murder of Carlos Bildmart: guns are not the solution.

5. We cannot combat unconventional threats with conventional methods. If they are camouflaged, we must be too.

6. It is said that routine kills, but we know that it is not easy to eliminate certain routines from our protégés. For this reason, communication and persuasiveness with protégés must be strengthened.

7. Logistics is crucial and must be agreed with the user. In this case, it is observed that there is risk on top of risk, i.e., having routines is critical, but having them in a place as exposed as that coffee shop multiplies the risks. For criminals, ease of escape is one of the most important parts of planning an attack, as they seek to reduce their own risks. The coffee shop is located on an avenue and its location offers all the logistical advantages to the attackers, both for escape and for deploying vehicles and camouflaging others. For the protégés, carefully choosing locations, especially those frequented, is essential to reduce the risks. It is obvious that the attackers are professional and well organized, and we should not make things even easier for them by having a routine location so favorable for an attack.

In summary, this unfortunate attack adds to the sad figure of 14 executives and 29 escorts murdered in just over a year. We must change the way we operate and focus on anticipating and defusing attacks in their preparation phase and thus make our profession safer for both protectees and protectors.

The 7 keys to the murder of the commissioner in Zapopan Read More »

Day of the Dead Attack: Executive Protection Beyond Armed Escorts

In a tragic attack that took place at the Los Cipreses Memorial Park Cemetery, located in Naucalpan, Mexico, during the commemoration of the Day of the Dead, two people lost their lives and another was injured. According to reports from the Attorney General's Office of the State of Mexico, the target of the attack was businessman Francisco Xavier "N", 41 years old, who died at the scene, while his escort lost his life on the way to the hospital.


According to testimonies gathered by the municipal police, the businessman entered the cemetery accompanied by a woman and his escort, who was carrying a gun. However, the attack was surprising and the escort had no opportunity to respond. Two armed individuals, presumably on a motorcycle, started shooting, which resulted in the death of the businessman and the escort, leaving the woman wounded. The assailants fled after the incident.

This tragic murder adds to a disturbing statistic in Mexico, where in the last 14 months, 13 protégés and 29 of their escorts have been murdered. This fact highlights the false sense of security that can come from having only armed escorts. Even ten protectors armed with long weapons could not prevent the ambush that took the life of the Secretary of Public Security of Coyuca de Benítez, Alfredo Alonso López.

It is clear that executive protection cannot be based solely on the presence of armed escorts. The numbers mentioned above demonstrate that this strategy is not only ineffective, but can also generate a false sense of security. It is necessary to adopt a comprehensive approach that includes a proper threat assessment and the implementation of multiple measures that reduce the protégé's exposure to risk and defuse attacks before they get close to the client in terms of time and space.

Executive protection must be a profession that inspires confidence and provides security for both protectees and protectors. It is time to re-evaluate current methods and adopt more effective approaches to properly manage the risks of those requiring protection. Only through proper threat assessment and the implementation of multiple measures that reduce the protectee's exposure to risk and defuse attacks early can we make this profession safer for both protectees and protectors.

Day of the Dead Attack: Executive Protection Beyond Armed Escorts Read More »

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