Private Security Providing Police In Santa Cruz

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011  |  Updated 1:19 PM PDT
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Private Security Providing Police In Santa Cruz

Security guards are helping cops patrol the streets in Santa Cruz.

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No need to fight the law. Private security guards already won.

Uniformed security guards, not police, are patrolling an isolated commercial area in Santa Cruz after business leaders and "real" police agreed to an expansion of a pilot program that's seen security guards provide police services other areas of the beach town, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reported.

The area has a Costco, a Little League field, and several offices and businesses. Cops patrol the area, but not often enough to prevent a string of burglaries and other crimes in the area, according to the newspaper. Having security guards on site is "far cheaper" than having sworn police, according to Steve Clark, deputy chief of the Santa Cruz Police Department.

The security guards cannot make an arrest or write tickets, but they can ask passers-by for identification, detain perps until police arrive, and make note of issues such as loitering, graffiti and public drunkenness.

Guards from security company First Alarm are already patrolling downtown and the Municipal Wharf with success, the newspaper reported.

Using private guards for patrolling also frees up limited police resources for more serious crime, Clark was quoted as saying.

Business leaders support the move. "We're all very grateful for any help we get there," said Carol Lezin, a property owner in the area.

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