I don’t feel safe.

all_about_meSomething must be done.

FBI report lists Los Altos as one of Bay Area’s safest communities 

Yes, I’ve read the article, I’m sure it’s right. I moved my family to Los Altos because we love the village atmosphere, the family-friendly downtown, the great schools and low crime rate. We considered towns like Hillsborough and Woodside but eventually settled on Los Altos. As a parent, safety is a top priority. I want to raise my family in safe environment.

I understand Los Altos ranks as one of the safest cities in the Bay Area, but our neighborhood just doesn’t feel that safe to me anymore. I’ve heard about crimes in nearby neighborhoods. My neighbors and I want more so we’re doing something about it.

line_in_sandLos Altos Police provide good law enforcement and public safety, I’m not saying they do a bad job, but why shouldn’t my neighborhood be allowed to choose another provider if it would make us feel safer? At the end of the day, our peace of mind—our sense of our own safety—is all that matters. We shouldn’t be prevented from enjoying peace of mind in our homes and the City shouldn’t stand between us and a private security firm.

Bottom line, we’ve chosen to hire private security instead of relying on City Police. We expect to achieve both service improvements and cost savings. We think the City of Los Altos pays the police too generously, and we all know overtime and pensions are extravagant. For the same money, we think we can buy better security.

Hiring private security is very innovative for a community, but we expect other neighborhoods and towns to follow our lead eventually.

We’ve formed a nonprofit “public benefit” corporation and asked the City to contribute our neighborhood’s fair share of police funding, which we’ll use to pay for our private security.

Here’s the upside: Under our innovative plan we’ll get 35% more patrols through our neighborhood but only pay 20% more. Yes, safety is such a high priority for us, we’re actually willing to spend more on our private force than the City spends on city police. We’ll pay the difference out of pocket with donations to our nonprofit. And best of all, our private police will answer to us. If they don’t do a great job, we can get rid of them. Worst case scenario, if this experiment doesn’t work out, we’ll just go back to using City Police.

My neighbors all agree this is a great plan and a great value. It’s peace of mind well worth paying a little extra for. It might not be right for every neighborhood, but it suits us.

As we’ve discussed this with people in town, we’ve received some support, some puzzled looks and even some resistance. I don’t understand the resistance.

Why shouldn’t we be able to arrange for—and pay for—better police services for our neighborhood? Yes, we’re diverting funding from the city’s budget, but only the share of revenues we’re entitled to. By hiring private security we eliminate the need for City police to patrol our homes which allows them focus more on other parts of town.

I run a good-sized business and we throw parties from time to time. When we need security, we hire a private firm. Why can’t my neighborhood do the same? Why should City police have a monopoly on security services? My neighbors and I have shopped the market and we think we found a better service at a good price. This is our right, right?

Since we don’t have our own police station and patrol cars, we’re also asking the City to allow our private force to share police headquarters and use the City’s patrol cars. If modifications to the police headquarters are necessary, we’ll even pay part of the construction costs. All we ask is for our fair share, but separate from everyone else.

We deserve to feel safe in our neighborhood, we’re willing to pay what it takes and we can privately manage it. We really don’t understand why some people are organizing against this idea.

After all, we don’t feel safe. Something must be done for us.

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