As cities lay off police, frustrated neighborhoods turn to private cops - CSMonitor.com:
Long known for patrolling shopping malls and gated communities, private security firms are beginning to spread into city streets. While private security has long been contracted by homeowners associations and commercial districts, the trend of groups of neighbors pooling money to contract private security for their streets is something new. Besides Oakland, neighborhoods in Atlanta and Detroit – both cities with high rates of crime – have hired firms to patrol their neighborhoods, says Steve Amitay, executive director of the National Association of Security Contractor. “It’s happening everywhere,” Mr. Amitay says. “Municipal governments and cities are really getting strapped in terms of their resources, and when a police department cuts 100 officers obviously they are going to respond to less crimes.”
So affluent neighborhoods are starting to do what businesses have been doing since the 1970s by forming Business Improvement Districts (BIDS) and contracting for a higher level of police (and other services) than the municipality can provide. And note this: "Meanwhile, the private security industry is projected to grow by about 19 percent – from 1 million to 1.2 million guards – between 2010 and 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Most of that growth will come because private firms are doing jobs once held by law enforcement, according to the bureau."