Oakland, Ca., is in the middle of a robbery epidemic, says NPR. Some residents are taking matters into their own hands, hiring private security companies to patrol their neighborhoods. Robberies in Oakland are up 24 percent over the past year, with armed robberies up 45 percent. Since the recession dried up local tax revenues, the Oakland Police Department has been hamstrung by the loss of more than 200 officers and can’t respond to all the calls it receives for help.
Rockridge, a leafy, upscale community in North Oakland, is one neighborhood that has brought in private security. When two armed men robbed a group of carpooling commuters, relieving everyone of their money, smartphones and laptops, resident Dakin Ferris says such a brazen crime was a game changer. Residents used a crowdfunding website to raise tens of thousands of dollars to hire private security patrols on a four-month trial period. More than 600 households pay $20 a month for unarmed patrols in clearly marked cars to run 12 hours a day, Monday through Saturday.