As Law Enforcement Budgets are Slashed, Private Eyes and Security Firms Move In

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Lean budget times for local law enforcement have created opportunities for private investigators and security companies to fill the void.


Beyond keeping watch over stores and gated communities, private security firms are now making money by guarding whole neighborhoods with the decision by some homeowners to pool their money and hire extra protection.


The move has followed the downsizing of police budgets and forces, which have left many residents feeling unsafe. The cutbacks have added to the growing gulf between the rich and poor in the United States. Wealthier communities are able to hire private security companies, while lower-income communities are left on their own.


In Oakland, California, the security company First Alarm was hired to guard about 100 homes in the Bay Area community that laid off 80 police officers in 2010, despite having one of the highest murder rates in the nation.


In New Jersey, which lost 4,200 police in three years, and in other states, private detectives have picked up business as a result of police cutbacks. Instead of police detectives working on robberies and other matter, private eyes have stepped in to do the work.


"The public is frustrated by the police,” private investigator and former cop Harry Glemser told the Los Angeles Times. “The citizenry is quick to say that the police don't do anything for them. They should be saying the police can't do anything for them because of this budgetary issue, this manpower problem.”

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

As Cities Lay Off Police, Frustrated Neighborhoods Turn To Private Cops (by Chris Stein, Christian Science Monitor)

Private Detectives Filling Gaps Left By Police Budget Cuts (by Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times)


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