Rejecting their public police forces as inept, corrupt or both, people across Latin America increasingly are turning to private security guards for protection. From Mexico to Argentina, an army of nearly 4 million men and women are part of an industry expected to soon be worth $30 billion. But private security is only available to those who can afford it, leaving the rest to fend for themselves. In a package of three stories called "Private Policing," The Associated Press examines this trend, how it falls short of solving the region's security problem and how the poor rely on vigilante justice and other homegrown solutions.

The package is moving in advance on Monday, Nov. 24, for use on or after Thursday, Nov. 27. Each story will have photos and the project is accompanied by a photo gallery from Mexico City and a multimedia interactive profiling private security guards from across Latin America.

Below are the digest lines for each item:

Private Policing from MEXICO CITY — Distrust of public police has made private security a big business in Latin America, where a majority of police forces are deemed incompetent or corrupt — or both. In the world's most dangerous region, an army of nearly 4 million private officers make up an industry growing 9 percent a year and projected to reach $30 billion by 2016 — more than the economies of Paraguay or El Salvador. By Katherine Corcoran. 1,500 words; Abridged version 900 words. With AP Photos.

Private Police-Vigilante Justice from CAJAMARCA, Peru — Self-appointed bands of citizen vigilantes enjoy widespread support in Cajamarca, doing a job legally assigned to prosecutors, judges and police. The rise of these citizen enforcers in the past decade is just one response in Latin America to an eroding criminal justice system and corruption-marred, ineffective police forces unable to offer even the most basic protections. By Frank Bajak. 1,500 words; Abridged version 700 words. With 18 AP Photos by Martin Mejia.

Private Policing-Victim from ZACAPA, Guatemala — Jose Miguel Ramirez went hunting for iguanas on a melon farm, and paid for it with his life. The killing of the 19-year-old reveals just how convoluted security and justice have become in Guatemala, where private guards outnumber police 5-to-1, and the soaring crime rate is married with shocking levels of impunity. By Katherine Corcoran and Sonia Perez. 800 words. With AP Photos.

Private Policing-Photo Gallery from MEXICO CITY — The earpiece is usually the giveaway. Or, maybe it's the dark suits, the big SUVs with tinted windows or the menacing Dodge Avengers in black, always black. Private security guards are part of the landscape in Mexico, especially in the capital, where the fear of violence has fueled steady demand for high-end security. By Dario Lopez. 200 words. With 9 AP Photos. By Dario Lopez.

Private Policing-Interactive: Profiles of security guards from across Latin America