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As cities lay off police, frustrated neighborhoods turn to private cops

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Chris Stein
Christian Science Monitor
April 6, 2013

On the streets of Oakland, budget cuts have made the beat cop a rare breed, and some of the city’s wealthy neighborhoods have turned to unarmed security guards to take their place.

After people in Oakland’s wealthy enclaves like Oakmore or Piedmont Pines head to work, security companies take over, cruising the quiet streets to ward off burglars looking to take advantage of unattended homes.

“With less law enforcement on the streets and more home crime or perception of home crime, people are wanting something to replace that need,” says Chris de Guzman, chief operating officer of First Alarm, a company that provides security to about 100 homes in Oakland. “That’s why they’re calling us and bringing companies like us aboard to provide that deterrent.”

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.

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This article was posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013 at 4:55 am





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