Private Police Outperform Public Police in One Texas Town

One town in Texas decided not to renew it’s contract with the local constables. Instead they hired a private policing company to patrol their streets. The result: it cost less and crime dropped.

And it was not just some statistically insignificant drop in crime: there has been an overall 61% drop in crime since the private police took over 20 months ago. The town of Sharpstown is not tiny either; it is home to 66,000 residents, located just outside of Houston. The new police force puts more officers out on patrol, and costs the city $200,000 fewer each year than the constables cost.

This just shows what a simple profit incentive can accomplish. Instead of doing the same old thing, SEAL, the private police force, uses targeted patrols for high crime area, and keeps the same officer in a particular neighborhood, instead of randomly sending patrols zig-zagging all over the place.

“Law enforcement officers are trained to be reactive. They’re out there to run calls, they’re running one call to another, so they’re reacting to something that’s already happened. Private security, the way that we train our guys, is more proactive, meaning that we’re in the community proactively patrolling to prevent those crimes.”

Said James Alexander, the director of SEAL operations.

One town isn’t hard proof of anything, but it is certainly an indication that private police can do just as good, if not better than, a public police force. And this example is not purely private either: the police were still hired with public funds. I would like to see what happens when people are left to their own devices to shop around for protection, as long as they are rebated the money previously taken by force to pay for public police.