Bakersfield Downtown businesses eye voluntary contributions for private security

The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens from enemies foreign and domestic.  That means a military and a law enforcement force.  How bad is the law enforcement in California?  Thanks to the Democrats we are a sanctuary state, allowing criminals from foreign countries roam our streets.  Thanks to the cashless bail system, we have repeat criminals using the jails as a revolving door.  Now  Visalia, parts of Oakland and now Bakersfield have found that they need to hire their own security forces to protect the—since government will not.

“Still in the planning stages, the proposal has grown out of frustration that the Bakersfield Police Department still has not been able to put new tax revenues to use deploying additional officers on the street to make a strong impact on downtown crime.

Businesses have also complained that they aren’t seeing enough of the city-contracted private patrols that since September have provided “eyes and ears” for the BPD until it can get new officers ready for work.

What has emerged is somewhat similar to the kind of service proposed when several years ago the DBA was pushing what’s called a property-based improvement district.

That system would have taxed downtown businesses or property owners uniformly to fund various services, like sidewalk cleanup and promotions. By comparison, the services now being contemplated would be administered by the DBA mainly as a way to save money through shared contributions.

While the State is financing illegal alien criminals, decent people have to pay for security to protect themselves from criminals protected by government.  When will we get really angry?

Downtown businesses eye voluntary contributions for private security

BY JOHN COX, Bakersfield.com.  2/22/20 

A new, private-security model emerging in downtown Bakersfield proposes to supplement city-funded efforts by allowing individual business and property owners to pool their money in support of regular patrols and alarm response-type attention.

The plan being discussed by leadership within Bakersfield’s Downtown Business Association is aimed at addressing persistent problems with vandalism, theft and vagrancy in an area that is otherwise gaining steam.

A quirk in the proposal is that, because participation would be voluntary, some businesses would receive attention by private security but others would not.

“You’d have to be on the list,” DBA President and CEO Melanie Farmer said.

CONTINUING FRUSTRATION

Still in the planning stages, the proposal has grown out of frustration that the Bakersfield Police Department still has not been able to put new tax revenues to use deploying additional officers on the street to make a strong impact on downtown crime.

Businesses have also complained that they aren’t seeing enough of the city-contracted private patrols that since September have provided “eyes and ears” for the BPD until it can get new officers ready for work.

What has emerged is somewhat similar to the kind of service proposed when several years ago the DBA was pushing what’s called a property-based improvement district.

That system would have taxed downtown businesses or property owners uniformly to fund various services, like sidewalk cleanup and promotions. By comparison, the services now being contemplated would be administered by the DBA mainly as a way to save money through shared contributions.

Cost-related details were not available as the DBA continues to evaluate whether to proceed with the proposal.

SERVICE OPTIONS

The company working with the DBA to make the service available, M&S Security Services Inc., said it already has many clients downtown that pay for service on either a per-incident or a monthly subscription basis.

Marvin Fuller, co-owner and president of M&S, said either payment option is available to the DBA. He noted his patrol people don’t carry guns and can’t force people off public property, but that they do forcibly escort trespassers off private property and, like anyone else, can arrest wrongdoers.

He added that business owners criticizing the private service contracted by the city, Trans-West Security Services Inc., might misunderstand its intent.

“They (business owners) were expecting (Trans-West’s service) to be a cure-all and it’s not,” Fuller said. “What we need is more police officers to be on the street.”

PUBLIC RESPONSIBILITY?

Not everyone likes the idea of paying out of their pocket to fund security.

Downtown property owner Robert Massey, who said he has not been approached by the DBA about the program, said he doesn’t think businesses or residents should have to pay for services he considers public. To him, the idea exposes flaws in the half-cent sales tax approved in 2018, Measure N.

“The revenue from Measure N was supposed to be used to increase the safety of our downtown corridor by providing more officers and increasing response time,” he said by email.

City officials noted that Trans-West’s services, which cost taxpayers $360,000 per year, were put in place until the BPD can hire and deploy 100 new officers. They said the interim services are intended to spot crime in all of Bakersfield’s high-crime areas, not just downtown.

EARLY RESULTS

City Councilman Andrae Gonzales, whose Ward 2 includes parts of downtown, pointed to city data showing virtually across-the-board improvements in rates of crime such as graffiti and loitering during Trans-West’s first three months on the job.

He said he welcomed business owners to do what they can to tackle crime, such as shopping center tenants paying for cleanup of common areas.

Trans-West did not respond to a request for comment.

Downtown business owner Dixie Brewer, who serves as chairwoman of the DBA’s year-old neighborhood watch-like system called Block to Block, said she likes the M&S Security proposal because company security personnel can eject offenders from her store. She noted her business has already hired the company on a per-incident basis.

Tim Gojich, owner of Fit for Life Gym on 19th Street, said he hired private security after two large windows were knocked out of his building in December. He said the proposed voluntary service might save money if several businesses put their money together to pay for regular patrols and security interventions.

But he’s not sure that a version of the proposal he heard about, one that would extend all the way to Union Avenue, would provide effective coverage because of its large size.

‘CRITICAL MASS’

Mike McCoy, who is a block captain with DBA’s Block to Block initiative, said he has seen voluntary, privately funded security programs work well in other cities, such as Visalia.

What would probably be needed, however, is a “critical mass” of businesses participating.

“You always have the people that don’t participate or decide not to. It just doesn’t make a perfect situation,” he said.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. How about the businesses creating their own “police/patrol” service. Own a business that does not want to kick in? Good they will protect your business and then place a lien on your property/business.

    Or, they will stand back and not respond.

    Now there is a concept. The State Dems have crippled police forcing private businesses to do their job.

    Hey how about placing a wage garnishment on every Assembly and Senate member. Now that is even better.

  2. West Walker says

    We did that for years at another liberal controlled- with the Santa Cruz Downtown Association and our hiring of First Alarm.

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