The Private Security Patrols at Year One

Sunday, January 11, 2015

We have now had patrols in Lower Rockridge for over a year, since November 2013. We take this opportunity for a year-end overview, including a recap of the service and recent changes, and a review of how well the patrols have worked.

Initial Patrol Steps
Following the private security patrol pilot program funded by residents via CrowdTilt.com, the organizers created Safer Rockridge, a California non profit public benefit corporation. Safer Rockridge contracted with Premiere Protective Services ppsguards.com/ (PPS) to provide neighborhood-focused patrol services throughout Lower Rockridge. The officers are unarmed, do not follow or stop anyone, and do not use racial profiling. They are trained to observe and report suspicious or criminal activity, and mainly serve as an extra set of eyes and ears. Their first response to any criminal or safety concern is to contact Oakland Police, then observe, report, and, when safe to do so, assist anyone in need.

Feedback Brought Changes
We made several changes in response to community feedback: we retained firms with unarmed officers and a strict policy of no following or profiling; we formed a non-profit and made the service freely available to anyone in the patrol area; we shifted patrols to later hours on Friday and Saturday; we added unannounced "random" patrols in addition to the regularly scheduled patrol hours. For details, join our mailing list at SaferRockridge.org/mailing. To request assistance during patrol hours, call 510/717-0944.

Aside from a few phone problems, members of the community have found the officers to be professional, courteous, and responsive. We have heard no complaints or reports of harassment or profiling; those initial community concerns were apparently unfounded.

Analyzing Patrol Effectiveness
In my role as a professional economist, I have analyzed the effectiveness of private security patrols. Using sophisticated statistical modeling of Oakland crime reports back to 2007, I estimate that burglaries and robberies in Lower Rockridge are down by a statistically significant 30 percent relative to what would have been predicted absent the patrols. Moreover, I find no evidence of a statistically meaningful spillover effect in areas adjacent to Lower Rockridge. For the full report, see goo.gl/zY27Z4.

Community Contributions Fund Patrols
The security patrols only happen through the support and contributions of our community. As of late November, we have raised over $175,000 (including both Safer Rockridge and CrowdTilt) with a monthly recurring donation level of roughly $12,000. We prefer recurring donations ($30/month suggested) made via SaferRockridge.org, but are happy to accept any amount in one-time or check donations.

Paul Liu, a patrol organizer