Interesting story on NPR this morning: With Robberies Up, Oakland Residents Turn To Private Cops : NPR Highlights: The city of Oakland, Calif., is in the middle of a robbery epidemic. In response, some residents in several Oakland neighborhoods are taking matters into their own hands, hiring private security companies to patrol their neighborhoods. "Three doors down across the street, my neighbor was putting his key in the door at 7 o'clock after coming home from work," Ferris says. "[He] was rushed from the street — didn't see, apparently, the people coming. But he ended up being beaten, hospitalized and, obviously, robbed." So after the carpool robbery, residents in two different sections of the neighborhood used a crowdfunding website to raise tens of thousands of dollars. They're using the funds to hire private security patrols on a four-month trial period. More than 600 households pay $20 a month for unarmed patrols in clearly marked cars to run 12 hours a day, Monday through Saturday. and my favorite Aruda, like Ferris, is an attorney, a parent of two and a neighborhood activist. She says the organizers of the crowdfunding efforts bypassed the objections of their neighbors. "And the rest of us, who have not signed up with this company, there's no accountability for us," she says. "If there are problems with patrols in the neighborhood, we have no one to go to because we're not contractees. The security company has no responsibility to us. There's no transparency." One of Aruda's concerns is the potential for racial profiling. Aruda says she has a teenage son whose friends might be targeted as "suspicious" in their own neighborhood. So here is the interesting question. As we start to see the realities of tax income not equaling expenditures and basic services (ie police) are cut back, are we going to start to see more calls for self defense? Maybe more gated communities with private security? This is California, how far does the pendulum need to swing until people begin to demand the a return of the ability to defend themselves?