SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – They are trusted to protect and serve. And while they may not wear a badge, more armed security guards are being hired to keep communities safe as police departments make cuts.
In fact, some communities say they call security before calling 9-1-1.
A Sacramento security company says they patrol day and night in the Natomas neighborhood of Sacramento. And while calling 9-1-1 is still the number to call for emergencies, some say they’ve got a security company’s number on speed dial for all other calls for help.
“I wouldn’t wear a gun if it wasn’t dangerous,” said Mitchell Stroup, an armed security officer.
Stroup is one of a rising number of security guards in Sacramento. And Paladin Security says they’ve seen a trend in small business and homeowners hiring more armed instead of unarmed guards to respond to their calls for help.
“And they’ll call us before they call the police,” said Louis Aljens, a Paladin spokesperson.
As police departments make cuts to their forces, they’re forced to respond to high-priority calls first. And paladin says many of their clients now call them for low priority calls like noise complaints, suspicious people and panhandling.
“You can have four officers show up before police department shows up,” said Stroup.
And while Sacramento police say security guards don’t replace them, they say the extra help on the streets is helping. But the trend definitely comes with its dangers.
“It’s more dangerous definitely in the last years,” said Aljiens.
They say protection sometimes comes at a price.
“Every day is a roll of the dice,” said Aljiens.