Rising Crime Rates Force Businesses to Hire Private Security Because of Inactive Government

AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Progressive politicians are costing business owners in more ways than one with their lax crime policies. Their approach to crime has not only placed people in danger by emboldening criminals, it has also forced business owners to incur additional expenses — not only because of rampant shoplifting and theft but because of the measures they must take to protect themselves.

In several major cities across the United States, small businesses are hiring private security to deter and prevent criminal elements from stealing their wares while endangering their customers. They are spending oodles of cash to hire people who will do the job that local progressive-run governments have refused to do.

In Maryland, businesses are increasingly relying on private security amid rising retail and property crime rates. "Maryland neighborhoods, apartment buildings, big box stores, fast-food chains, hospitals, banks and schools rely on more than 26,000 licensed private security guards to deter crime,” according to a Baltimore Banner report.

Retailers are increasingly hiring private guards to thwart organized retail crime, said Cailey Locklair, president of the Maryland Retailers Alliance. The thieves take advantage of Maryland’s port and Interstate 95 to carry merchandise away

Retailers feel that “if the system is going to break down and fail all around me, I have to do something,” Locklair said.

Security companies are required to obtain a license to operate in Maryland and the number of those jumped 48% from 2017 to 2024, according to a Capital News Service analysis of the Maryland State Police licensing division’s public databases. Some 1,060 licensed security agencies operate in Maryland; a number of those also offer investigative services.

Maryland is not alone. Business owners in Seattle, Washington, have taken similar measures, spending millions on private security patrols. Much of this is caused by lax crime policies, but a shortage of police officers is also an issue. Conservative commentator Jason Rantz noted that private security vehicles are seen patrolling neighborhoods “At least a half dozen times a day” and that “Collectively, businesses are spending millions extra just to operate in Seattle.”

With a severely depleted Seattle Police Department (SPD), business owners are forced to pay for private security to help deter crime. Collectively, businesses are spending millions extra just to operate in Seattle.

At least a half dozen times a day, a Triple Canopy Security vehicle cruises around the Bonneville Seattle offices. The security drivers patrol up and down the quiet side streets and busy Eastlake Avenue East. They don’t provide security for Bonneville, the parent company of KTTH, but employees here benefit.

A security guard with Triple Canopy Security told “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH that the firm was hired by one of the labs doing work in the Eastlake neighborhood. They patrol throughout the day and early evening because many of the employees park on the surface streets. The security guard, who wasn’t speaking on behalf of the company, said it’s meant to show a presence in the neighborhood to cut down on property crime and theft.

Before the patrols, it was common for thieves to break into vehicles and buildings. One restaurant owner told Rantz that he has “lost all faith in the city.” However, it appears that since the patrols started, there have been fewer crimes.

However, this security comes at great cost to businesses in the city.

Contracted security costs have also skyrocketed. In March, downtown Seattle building owners said private security costs rose between 40% and 400%, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. The Metropolitan Improvement District itself spends $2 million on contracted security.

“The private sector in Seattle is spending millions of dollars a year to attempt to compensate for the negative impacts to public safety from the defund police movement,” Scholes explained to “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH.

Businesses in Austin, Texas, are experiencing the same issue. In the downtown area, business owners have pitched in to hire private security guards to patrol the area.

In efforts to deter things like illegal drug activity and unruly behavior near Sixth and Brazos Street downtown, a group of businesses – including Stream Realty, the Littlefield Building and The Driskill – have hired private security guards to patrol the sidewalks, according to Stream’s attorney Richard Suttle.

“The best news I’ve heard in four years,” Jesse Fortney, owner of Gnar Bar, said. Gnar Bar is near the intersection where security guards are patrolling.

The businesses hired the guards from Next Level Security. The guards patrol the intersection of Sixth and Brazos from the corner to the alleys.

The city’s homeless problem has contributed to the issues requiring security. One of the guards told KXAN that their primary objective is to “break up large groups of people experiencing homelessness who gather on the street.”

The Austin Police Department issued a statement explaining that it “cannot commit these resources to certain areas 24 hours a day/seven days a week, and is aware that some business owners and managers are opting to hire private security to ensure their businesses are protected.”

Ben Marullo, a local resident, said, “The city was not effective in keeping our community safe.” Another complained that business owners have to pony up the funds to protect their property because the city appears uninterested in addressing the problem. “It’s sad that private money has to do it,” he said.

He’s right.

Local governments already take significant sums of money from city residents in part to pay for law enforcement. It is the job of these agencies to ensure that businesses and residents are protected from criminals. Unfortunately, lax policies have forced these entities to pay even more money to hire their own private security to take on this role. In a sense, they are paying for two security agencies, one in the form of taxes to support local governments that are clearly not doing their jobs and the other in private agencies that must be hired as a result.

If the city is forcing companies to pay for private security, then it should not be taxing them to pay for law enforcement that is unable to do its job. Indeed, in many of these areas, even when police are able to arrest people who commit property crimes, the perpetrators are right back on the streets when local governments refuse to prosecute them, creating an unending loop of criminality.

Here’s an idea: If these local officials don’t want to address crime and protect those under their governance, they should not be taxing them for law enforcement that aren’t allowed to do their jobs. It makes no sense to force people to pay for a service they clearly are not getting.


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