Reasons for the professionalization of private security in the US

The first Hallcrest report claimed that in 1977 the expenditure on private security and public security in the United States reached a point where it was evenly balanced. However the updated version of the report claimed that spending on private security would be three times greater by the year 2000. The United States experienced vast growth in private security over the last 50 years. It’s down to a number of factors which include rising crime or the publication therefore via modern media, a laboring police force and an increase in wealth. In the United States crime increased steadily between the 1960 and late 1990s. The vast increase of crime in the United States prompted people to protect themselves and therefore it gave rise to the privatization of security. The role of the media also needs to be assessed when one consider crimes impact on the increase of security. The development of technology to distribute information and in particular visual media increased people’s awareness of crime and especially the brutality involved in some cases. The fear that the media can create may alter people’s perception of their safety or the lack of it. The role of the media is not limited to conventional crime but is also important to other threats to safety for instance, natural disasters and terrorism. The vast increase in crime together with a lack of public funds also placed the police under increasing pressure. The perception exists in some cases that the police are not effective and therefore added security is needed to protect oneself from the new dangers. Corruption in the police also added to public perception that the police might not be sufficient to protect people and their interests.

It’s human nature to want to protect one property from loss or damage. However as ones wealth and resources increase the task of protection can become a burden. The United States is the wealthiest country in the world by definition of GDP and its GDP per capita is ranked under the top ten in the world. I am of the opinion that as wealth increased in the United States so did the expenditure on private security. The supply of security quickly satisfied the demand that existed in the United States. The importance of security together with the vast amount of money involved in the field created a need for a more regulated and controlled environment in which to operate. The establishment of governing bodies like ASIS and the increase in the number of degree programs and training courses in security assisted in the professionalization of private security. Providing well-trained professionals who operate in a controlled environment enhance the field of security’s ability to serve as an important business function. The establishment of a code of ethics and the cooperation of various security related bodies such as ASIS, ASET, IAHSS, NASSLEO and the SIA made the professionalization of the private security possible. The Governments recognition of the importance and significance of private security is evident from the fact that bills were introduced to federally regulate the field. Bills from amongst others Gore and Martinez emphasized the importance of private security and created awareness of the field. In my opinion the greatest factor in the professionalization of private security was the demand that existed for its services. Government policies and greater awareness further assisted the demand in order to establish private security and professionalize the field.

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