As Police Budgets Shrink, Private Security Opportunities Grow

The May 25, 2020, killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officer Derek Chauvin brought national focus to a long-simmering debate on the role of the police in American life. For some, the answer was to “defund the police,” shifting resources away from law enforcement and redirecting it towards social services and mental health support. Many cities responded to this call. The Guardian reports that at least 20 major U.S. cities reduced their police budgets, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Portland, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

In the aftermath of these budget cuts and the ongoing national debate, many police departments are having difficulty keeping their current force of police officers. Many departments are also having trouble finding new officers. Axios reports that, “Police departments across the country are struggling to attract applicants after a year of racial justice protests against police use of excessive force and calls for police reform dampened morale within the profession.”

This decline in police officers has corresponded with an increase in crime across the United States, particularly in large cities. The Washington Post reports that homicides increased 45 percent in New York City, 44 percent in Phoenix, and 40 percent in Philadelphia from 2019 to 2020, with the trend continuing there and in other cities in the first half of 2021.

While police departments shrink and crime spikes, the demand for private security has increased. The Wall Street Journal notes the increased demand for private security officers and the important role they are filling in communities:

New York City business associations have hired additional security guards this summer in the midst of a surge in violent crime and a decrease in arrests by police.

Three business-improvement districts in Manhattan and a neighborhood group in Queens said they have added private guards to patrol streets and public spaces.

Officials from the business groups said the additional guards, who are usually unarmed and report issues to police, are crucial as businesses reopen and more workers return to offices in Manhattan. The guards help visitors and workers feel more confident in their safety, the officials said.

The neighborhood group in Queens, did not have the deep pockets of the Manhattan business groups, so they took a different tactic to help make their community safer and more livable, they “held an online fundraiser to pay for security guards to patrol a waterfront park after complaints of parties, noise and littering.”

Demand for private security officers will continue to grow as crime rates remain high. With the role of the police being reduced in the communities they serve, private security officers will increasingly be called upon to fill the gap in helping to maintain order.

With the growing need for security guards, now is an excellent time to launch a career in private security. At Top Gun, we offer state-of-the-art training for those interested in becoming security officers or taking the next step in their career in private security. To learn more about our training programs, click here.