The Dallas Observer has a good story on the success of private security cameras installed in an East Dallas neighborhood. Richland Park estates has a voluntary neighborhood watch program that pays for the maintenance of a video monitoring system. This program has reduced crime dramatically.
These residents already send thousands of dollars in taxes to the Dallas police each year. Why are private security cameras necessary?
Opportunity Costs are really real
I keep saying that opportunity costs are real. Every drug arrest, poker raid, speed trap etc- keeps the police from preventing real crime. If these East Dallas residents could choose law enforcement priorities they would probably ask for more home invasion robbery prevention, and less pot and poker arrests.
State vs. Private Crime Prevention
This is a classic case of an unresponsive government agency failing to meet the needs of the citizenry. Crime prevention is a service. The Dallas Police are the government providers of crime prevention. DPD has their own priorities- fighting the drug war, writing tickets, poker prevention etc. This agenda is formed through the political process. Those without political power can not influence how the police disperse law enforcement resources. Political minority and individual demands for law enforcement are ignored. Ergo, East Dallas residents turn to the market to solve their problems.
What happens when the citizens gain the political power to manipulate the police agenda? In cities like Seattle, Portland, Oakland, and Denver the voters made marijuana arrests the “lowest law enforcement priority.”
Dallas citizens needs a more responsive police department. Neighborhoods should be free to choose how their tax dollars are spent. Until then, we have citizens paying twice for crime prevention.