Need a Cop? Call a Contractor


Security guard
Security guard (Photo by John Loo, on Flickr)

Once again, the present catches up with the future: the Los Angeles Times reports on the growing use of private security firms and private investigators to carry out work public police forces used to do.

The Times reports, “The U.S. private security industry is expected to grow 6.3% a year to $19.9 billion by 2016… Employment in investigation and security services…started ticking up in early 2009, and has grown 5.1% since then” as police departments lose funding and personnel in the ongoing cutbacks in government spending. (AP reported today that local, state and federal government employment has fallen by one million since May 2010.)

And you’ll be shocked to know that “‘Wealthy neighborhoods are buying themselves more police protection than poor neighborhoods,’ said Samuel Walker, emeritus professor of criminal justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the author of 13 books on policing.”

In my work-in-progress South, most city and county governments in 2032 America are so starved for funds that they’ve completely outsourced their police departments to private security contractors. Poorly paid contract cops are not only often corrupt, but also tend to abandon more dangerous neighborhoods to their own fates after nightfall. A few extremely large cities (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles) and a few very wealthy ones (such as Newport Beach, a walled enclave in 2032) maintain government-paid police forces; everyone else gets what Our Hero Luis calls “mall cops with guns.”

You can find the full Times article at,0,7940342,full.story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.