Postcard from Detroit: Private Security Patrols
In this week's print edition of TIME, I write about one of the most striking things I noticed after arriving in Detroit two months ago: neighborhood private security patrols. In recent years, Detroit's financial crisis has forced the city to cut its police force by 25%, to roughly 3,000 officers. So the force is understandably overwhelmed dealing with escalating violent crime across a large territory. Rather than fleeing the city, residents of some relatively upscale neighborhoods have hired private security patrols.
The practice raises a bunch of questions, but mainly: What are the fundamental services we should expect our taxes to provide – especially given the country's financial crisis? And, what about the folks who can't afford to live in neighborhoods with private security?