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  • Writer's pictureBrad Parker

Private Security Rises When Police Defunded

criminal arsonist with molotov cocktail
The natural consequence of less police protection is the rise of private security.

We've talked earlier about some of the things we need to think about for our business and residential security during this historic rise of cities defunding the police departments. The historic response to the lack of effective policing is the rise of private security.

This trend is continuing and is evidenced by more media coverage on public officials and high-profile business people hiring private security for their safety.

Federal Election Commission data show that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Rep. Cori Bush each spent thousands of dollars for services listed as “security” or “security services” in the last few months.

Ocasio-Cortez, for example, rebuked New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio last June for proposing a $1 billion cut to the New York Police Department, saying it wasn’t nearly enough.

Businesses have been hard hit with COVID shutdowns in the first place and then the rise of street crime and protests in many cities. There is also the historic rise in violent crime now to contend with.

There have been a flurry of news accounts lately on the amounts of funds spent on security for some of the higher profile tech executives. There are also accounts of huge ransoms paid out for the return of people kidnapped from wealthy individuals.

I was having a conversation the other day where I realized that I now know three people who have had immediate family members kidnapped and ransomed for large sums of money. It’s not that I run with a super wealthy crowd, this is a coincidence, but it got me wondering how rich you need to be before your personal security is at risk?

You won't be surprised at the efforts by businesses to upgrade their security as well. Some of this is in response to threats of street violence we've seen this year. Some of it is in response to some devastating attacks on offices. There is no real indication that this increase in lawlessness and crime will abate soon.

"One thing is that this past year was exceptional and that it’s hard to make a claim about general trends in a lot of jurisdictions. In New York City, this trend began before lockdowns," said Charles Lehman, a fellow at the right-leaning Manhattan Institute who specializes in research on crime and policing. "On the other hand, it’s impossible to dissociate these trends that are associated with protests against the police and city governments defunding their law enforcement. It’s worth noting that the last time we saw these jumps in murder was after the Ferguson protests."

"These spikes in murder are unsurprisingly associated with hostility towards the police and a retreat of police from public life," Lehman said. "When that happens, unsurprisingly, crime goes up."

If you are a high-net worth individual or a large business, now is the time to get some initial consulting with security professionals about how to decrease your risk.

As individuals, the trend is going to mean we cannot rely on city or county law enforcement as our primary security.

As Emma Freire notes, the rise of private security in countries like Brazil and South Africa are staples for even middle class neighborhoods when the police are ineffective or essentially non-existent. She notes that customer service is better and services can be more customized.

You can be creative here by sharing the costs across a larger base. For example, your Home Owners Association can hire a private security firm to patrol your neighborhood. These costs can be very reasonable when they are spread out amongst your neighbors.

Regardless of politics or our location, we want to navigate the increasingly unstable and lawless circumstances to keep our families safe while allowing some semblance of normal life.


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