House Neighborhood Hires Private Security Firms Over Public Police Officers

April 7th, 2013

What happens when budget cuts result in decreased police forces? One Houston neighborhood hires private security officers.

A Houston-based company with offices in London and Dubai that helps protect cargo ships from pirates is now helping a southwest neighborhood protect itself against common thieves.

As Officer Leroy Bill patrols the streets for the Sharpstown Civic Association, he looks and sounds like a cop.

“We’re looking for broke windows, and we’re looking for kicked in doors,” said Bill.

He and his fellow officers are certainly armed like cops and even have their own K-9 units. In reality, they are security officers for Seal Security, and they’ve been contracted by the subdivision since November.

“We actually patrol districts and subdivisions like this one to give them a little more security for their money,” said James Alexander, Seal’s director of operations.

There’s a market for everything. And what does it cost?

Bigham says the measure has saved the association roughly $200,000, while giving residents added peace of mind.

“It’s great. I feel a lot better,” said Sharpstown resident Donna Fain. “Last month, my dad’s car was broken into, and I hear they’ve reduced the number of car break-ins by a significant amount.”