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Modest Proposal : ‘We Have to Increase Private Security Police’

CELES KING III

California state chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, businessman, Pepperdine MBA

I have lived in Los Angeles since the late 1930s and have seen a gross deterioration of our ability to maintain law and order. If Los Angeles is to become a great city again, we must restore the confidence of the citizens that they are safe. We must likewise restore the confidence of tourists that they are safe.

First, we have to face the reality that the tax rolls will not stand significant additional burden. The illusion of the federal crime bill as a panacea for our problems is going to disappear. We are going to have to solve our problems on a local basis and the solution is going to have to involve the private sector.

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There are approximately 7,300 law enforcement officers in the Los Angeles Police Department, down from 8,400 a few years ago. We have to significantly increase the private-sector security police within the city.

Of course, we will have to improve the training system for these private security guards. We have young people taking criminal justice programs in college. This boost in private guards would be acceptable to the professional police department because these security people, likewise, would be professionals.

Every business should have a security guard 90% of the time they are conducting business. For instance, if you take a large office building with 50 security guards--one for each office in that building--and perimeter security people hired by the owners of the building, you can rest assured that that will be a safe building in which to conduct business. (Problems) beyond their immediate purview should become the responsibility of the police department.

At present, most large apartment buildings are required to have resident managers. Why not think about making some of these resident managers go through a training program and also become part-time security guards?

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Also, every apartment complex is required to have fire alarms in each apartment. Wouldn’t this city be more secure if each apartment building also installed burglar alarms?

We have hit a point in the history of Los Angeles where we have to make major strides toward improved perceptions of security. I am not suggesting that it be manifested as a city or county ordinance, but this is a matter that should reach a point of dialogue. The private sector has properly demanded more of a share in the decisions that affect the business climate. With that added authority goes the duty of additional responsibility.


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