Sharpstown, Texas, a suburb of Houston, has reportedly seen a 61 percent decline in crime over the last 20 months. This drop started when officials let the contract with local police expire and instead chose to hire SEAL Security Solutions.
The privatized police force took over in 2012 and has aided in the dramatic dip in crime. James Alexander, the director of operations for SEAL Security Solutions, told Guns.com, “Since we’ve been in there, an independent crime study that they’ve had done [indicates] we’ve reduced the crime by 61 percent.”
Alexander also said that police force efficiency has increased. The new security team has saved Sharpstown $200,000 per year while the town is getting more police officers in return.
Alexander described how his units operate: “On a constable patrol contract, it’s either a 70/30 or an 80/20. Meaning they say they patrol your community 70 percent of the time, [while] 30 percent of the time they use for running calls out of your area or writing reports.”
Alexander added: “The second thing that drastically reduces the crime is that we do directed patrols, meaning we don’t just put an officer out there and say, ‘Here, go patrol.’ We look at recent crime stats, and we work off of those crime stats. So if we have hotspots in those areas say for that month, we focus and concentrate our efforts around those hotspots.”
According to The Free Thought Project, the SEAL Security Solutions officers also have incentive to avoid violent encounters or attacks. Initiating force is an expensive task, one which public officers do not have to consider.
Alexander also claims that the SEAL police do not receive as much protection because they are in the private sector. He explained that they are held more accountable for their actions.
However, not all parties are so keen on employing private police forces.
An article in The Washington Post explained, “The growth is mirrored nationally in the ranks of private police, who increasingly patrol corporate campuses, neighborhoods and museums as the demand for private security has increased and police services have been cut in some places ... The trend has raised concerns in Virginia and elsewhere, because these armed officers often receive a small fraction of the training and oversight of their municipal counterparts. Arrests of private police officers and incidents involving SCOPs overstepping their authority have also raised concerns.”