Besides Oakland, neighborhoods in Atlanta and Detroit – both cities with high rates of crime – have hired firms to patrol their neighborhoods, says Steve Amitay, executive director of the National Association of Security Companies. [Editor's note: The name of the organization was incorrect in the original version.]
“It’s happening everywhere,” Mr. Amitay 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.”
Revenue into cities has drooped every year since 2007, according to the National League of Cities. Oakland, already struggling with one of the highest murder rates in the nation, laid off 80 police officers in 2010, though some have been rehired, says Sgt. Arturo Bautista, a department spokesman.
That has cut down on the amount of time patrol officers can spend watching over neighborhoods, Sergeant Bautista says. “Because of the short staff and the calls for service, officers are pretty much going from call to call to call.”