Trend: Crime-ridden cities arming themselves with private security forces

Trend: Crime-ridden cities arming themselves with private security forces

ChicagoDrudge today has a trio of headlines that suggest a trend that is interesting in light of recent events. Urban areas, frustrated with the inability of municipal police to provide the protection its citizens need, are hiring private security details to patrol their streets.

The three communities highlighted in the stories are Baltimore, Oakland (Calif.), and Springfield (N.J.). All three cities are considering such moves in reaction to a recent rise in street crime.

Baltimore affiliate Fox 45 notes that one solution currently employed in the city’s higher-crime neighborhoods is to hire off-duty police officers. Oakland, meanwhile, CBS Evening News reports, has witnessed 61 murders so far this year, a statistic that some feel is a reflection of budgetary cutback in the police force. In any case, residents “decided to pay themselves for private security patrols.”

Springfield Township, 34 minutes outside of New York City, is evaluating another approach to keeping streets safe. According to, its town council is exploring the idea of bringing back its neighborhood watch program. The article quotes Committeeman Ziad Andrew Shehady as saying, “a proactive, involved community is a strong community.” One assumes that Committeeman Shehady is familiar with the case of community watch volunteer George Zimmerman, of Sanford, Fla., and has weighed the fallout from that case in crafting his proposal.

Of the home states of cities contemplating these security measures, California alone has a stand-your-ground law. Not that it should matter one way or another. Despite the public outcry that has arisen from some quarters against Florida’s stand-your-ground law — including from a Baltimore City councilman — the statute was not a factor in the Zimmerman case.

Speaking of which, rather than focus on Florida, shouldn’t activists — if they are going to interfere at all — address policies in locales that are possibly setting themselves up for similar scenarios?

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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