Friday, March 20, 2009

Rent-a-cops could write tickets on South Side

Back in December I blogged about some police action investigating a burglary and one of the cars weren't a Chicago Police car but that of a private security service. I would have easily thought that they were deployed by a private burglar alarm service although I don't know if that's common in the city. I get the feeling we might see more of them.

I saw a nice post about the use of private security patrolling the Roseland neighborhood over at 2nd City Cop. This morning an article in the Sun-Times:
Private security guards patrolling three Far South Side commercial strips would be empowered to write tickets -- for everything from parking and moving violations to loitering, littering and graffiti -- under a groundbreaking plan that faces strong resistance from rank-and-file Chicago Police officers.

The controversial idea comes at a time when City Hall is slowing police hiring and violent crime is up.

Aldermen Anthony Beale (9th) and John Pope (10th) said they're putting the finishing touches on an ordinance that would mark a precedent-setting expansion of the powers of private security officers hired by local property owners.

"I'm adding to the safety and security of residents of the 9th Ward. That's what I'm doing," Beale said.
Inspired by a 1995 crime-fighting experiment in Marquette Park, several Chicago neighborhoods have established special service areas in which property owners pay higher taxes to augment police protection.

Until now, the armed and uniformed private security officers in those areas have been allowed to detain suspects and summon Chicago Police officers. They cannot make arrests or write tickets.
They want to empower Total Security Management of Oakbrook Terrace to write parking tickets, moving violations and citations for offenses including loitering, littering and graffiti.

The firm was hired last year to patrol three crime-plagued commercial strips: Michigan Avenue from 100th to 116th; Commercial Avenue from 83rd to 92nd, and 103rd Street from State to Corliss.

"It gives the community more control over illegal activity,'' Beale said. "Police are there to serve and protect. If we can give them some extra help to serve and protect, that's a win-win for everybody."
Should we contract out the ability to arrest, patrol, or writing tickets to private companies?

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