Oakland, Ca., budget cuts have made the beat cop a rare breed, and some wealthy neighborhoods have turned to unarmed security guards to take their place, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “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 of First Alarm, a company that provides security to about 100 homes in Oakland.
Neighborhoods in Atlanta and Detroit have hired firms to patrol neighborhoods, says Steve Amitay of the National Association of Security Contractor. “It's happening everywhere,” he 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.” The private security industry is projected to grow 19 percent from 1 million to 1.2 million guards between 2010 and 2020, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.