For over a decade, Detroit has been struggling with preserving their cops. In response, an avalanche of private security companies has rushed in. After the city bankruptcy file in 2013, budget and pay cuts and push cops towards better-paying police work outside of the city.
This is the beginning of an entirely new industry, which is Threat Management Services. We are literally leading the way in a paradigm shift in safe public and corporate protection. They have their own tactical and training facilities. They call it “the grid.” It is where they store their vehicles like tactical boats and motorcycles. Motorcycles allow them to get to situations very quickly. Custom boats will enable them to get into shallow water. It’s also very fun jumps over waves, and people enjoy riding in it.
Dale Brown, an ex-army paratrooper, began teaching his own brand of self-defense in the early 90s. He started his own security company in 2000 named Detroit Fair Fight 401. Brown says his 60 person Viper force has more than 5000 private citizens as clients along with 100 businesses. Altogether the company brings in about 2 million dollars a year. Brown said, “This is a community that pays us to protect their community 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No home invasions, no murders, no rapes, and no armed robberies whatsoever have been done here. So police use law enforcement, and what we do is use bodyguard techniques to prevent predation. Our main objective is to create conditions where violence does not occur, we deter violent criminal behavior by projecting strength. So our vehicles have all white strobe lights, our vehicles are black and chrome, there’s a strong sense that there is a strong organization that’s protecting these people. And then we speak to people very respectfully. We have all these different ways of showing that this is just not a good place to be a predator. And it’s all nonviolence. And we’re growing more and more people that want us in their communities, I think in areas in Detroit, where you have these very affluent communities right in the heart of the ghetto if you will. More and more people are utilizing services like Threat Management. They’ve shown up whenever I’ve called them, and in fact, their response time is so much higher than the Detroit police department that without them, I would not be as comfortable”.
Private security is booming in Detroit. The largest contractor is reported 25% year over year growth since the city’s bankruptcy.
Can security guards that are visible in neighborhoods deter crime? Yes. Can security guards replace police officers? No, Chief James Craig of Detroit Police said. He also noted that the effectiveness of a police department is solely dictated by the trust relationship they’ve got in the community. He said, “I was appointed as police chief almost six years ago, the city was facing bankruptcy. They were neighborhood police stations that were closed. There was a strong belief that some of the security companies were more effective than the police department. I think the relationship today is much better than it was 6 years ago. We are absolutely turning the corner”.
But it wasn’t just because of the city’s bankruptcy. In 2003, the federal government accused the Detroit PD of unconstitutional conduct, including excessive use of force and illegal detentions. They were under federal oversight for 13 years. Although the department has improved, Detroit still has the second-worst crime rate in the country.
Lieutenant Jonathan Bradfield of Detroit Threat Management said that If you set up a security service with them, they will respond to your home 10 minutes $10. When they respond to your home or business, it’s a $10 charge for the first two minutes, every minute after that is $1 a minute. The primary purpose of this is they feel safe when they close up. What you could have is a person trying to hide next to a car when they close up and then attack them when it gets into vehicles.
Ret. Chief Robert Stevenson of Livonia Police said, “the one thing about policing in America is the police are the public, and the public is the police. Meaning it’s supposed to be a partnership. It was never supposed to be about who can afford the most police and go out and hire your own police. A police department is answerable to the public. They’re answerable to the mayor, their hands roll to their city council, and a private police firm, depending upon how big it is is answerable to a board of directors”.