Private Security Guards Are Replacing Police Across America

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While police departments were losing officers, crime was rising in many parts of America. Murders, assaults, and car thefts rose nationally in 2020-2023, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, and an increase in homelessness has heightened anxieties about safety. These factors bolstered the private security industry, which had already been growing steadily since the terrorist attacks of September 11 but has boomed since 2020. There are roughly twice as many security guards employed in the U.S. than there were 20 years ago, according to the Security Industry Association, though the nation’s population has only grown 16% over the same time period. By 2021, there were about 2 police officers but 3.1 security guards for every 1,000 civilians.

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