SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) — Sacramento’s Woodlake neighborhood is among a growing number of communities that is adding an extra layer of protection against crime: private security.
“It’s just another set of eyes on the situation,” said Andy Hernandez, a homeowner and member of the Woodlake neighborhood safety committee.
Hernandez helped push Woodlake residents to hire the firm Paladin Security in 2012.
In the past five years, they’ve seen a drastic change.
“We’ve seen a major drop in the everyday petty crimes, and it seems to have reduced the number of car break-ins,” Hernandez said.
Now, more neighborhoods and organizations are following suit.
“We’ve certainly gotten a lot busier,” said Matt Carroll, Paladin’s vice president of operations. “We’re seeing an increase in our call volume of 20 to 30 percent every year over the past five years.”
Paladin now services about 450 customers in the greater Sacramento region.
That includes neighborhoods such as Woodlake, regional transit stations and a growing number of business districts.
“Police have to work for everyone, and we only have to work for the people who are paying us,” Carroll said.
And police said they support the efforts of security officers like Ryan Giarmona to help reduce and identify crime.
“I think it takes a lot of pressure off their shoulders, and they actually like us assisting them and helping them,” said Giarmona, who works with Paladin Security four times a week, serving 12-hour shifts mostly at Regional Transit light rail stations.
Sacramento police sent KCRA the following statement: “We appreciate the presence of private patrols in the city. It is important to remember that private security officers do not have peace officer authority and do not have the training that police officers in California have.”
But for Hernandez and his neighbors, who voluntarily pay about $20 a month per home for private security, it offers peace of mind he can’t put a price on.
“Quite frankly we wanted to be able to help our law enforcement officers any way we could in solving crimes and preventing crimes,” Hernandez said.