The Corner

Citizens of Oakland, Calif., Paying for Their Own Security as Their Government Fails Them

Last week, I mentioned how Detroit residents have started to provide many so-called public services in the place of their defective city government: They mow the grass in public space so children can play, change streetlights, provide threat management, and rehabilitate crumbling houses. That’s in spite of the fact that Detroit taxes (and in particular property taxes) are really high compared with similar-sized cities. 

As it turns out, Detroit is not the only place where heavily taxed residents have to take matters into their own hands and provide public services in the place of the government. Take Oakland, Calif. The one thing almost everyone agrees that the government should provide is police. However, when private citizens in parts of Oakland got tired of the lack of security in their neighborhood, the increase in the crime rates, and the inability of their own police force to protect them, they launched a series of campaigns to hire security forces to patrol their area (see here, here, and here). What are they looking for? Private security officers certified to carry firearms.

Also, everyone can benefit from the service, not just wealthy residents. The SFGate reports:

The service isn’t limited to the affluent hills neighborhoods.

In middle-class Maxwell Park, just northwest of Mills College, 180 residents have banded together to hire a security guard to patrol their neighborhood for four hours a day, five days a week. He started Wednesday.

“It costs each of us about 50 cents a day,” said Jose Durado, chairman of the neighborhood council. “As we get 45 new households to join, we get an additional hour of security.”

The guard’s patrol car, Durado said, will be marked “Maxwell Park Security.”

“We’re hoping that we can act as an example,” Durado said. “We expect that there will be other neighborhoods around us that will say, ‘How did you guys do that?’ “

The security companies are quick to say they aren’t replacement cops — they’re mostly there to scare thugs out of the neighborhood or to report suspicious activity.

There is more here and here

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

White House

For Democrats, the Party’s Over

If the Democrats are really tempted by impeachment, bring it on. Since the day after the 2016 election they have been threatening this, placing their chips on the Russian-collusion fantasy and then on the phantasmagoric charade of obstruction of justice. The attorney general accurately gave the ingredients of the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More