Police Shouldn’t be Free

When most people think of police, they think of the public police in their locality. They think of calling the police, which means that in many circumstances, they do not think of calling private police. This observation is not meant to downplay the fact that private policing is a large growth industry. Private police are said to outnumber public police by large margins. Private policing is a real victory for libertarianism. However, as long as public police don’t charge for their services, people have an incentive to call them in preference to calling private police and having to pay for them.

Why do people still call the police, meaning their local police? There is always what they’ve been taught. That’s a cultural factor. To change the culture, we need to change the economic factors behind this ingrained practice.

One established route is through a 911 call. Another is through an alarm system. Either way, these emergency calls make the connection by and large to local public police. Have private police entered this market, or are they kept out of it?

The basic economic reason why people still think of public police as being the police is, I suggest, because to them they are “free”, that is, bringing in the public police costs nothing in out-of-pocket dollars. (It may cost you your life or that of a loved one but that’s another matter.) Payment for public police has already been extracted from callers and users through taxes. The marginal cost of calling them in is zero. If you call the private police, you have to pay for the service. This is a major reason why people still call “the” police, despite the negatives of their performance. The private police provide protections that the public police do not, which helps explain their growth. Still, in order to place private and public police on a level playing field of competition, public police should not be supported by taxes and their services should not be free. In other words, their financing should be privatized.

The communists and socialists among us will insist that this will hurt poor people and people of color. Not at all. The latter will be better off patronizing private police. As paying customers, they will obtain far more relevant services shaped to their needs. They won’t be subject to the various forms of oppression they now experience.

Private policing includes private self-defense, and that includes guns in the hands of people who have not disqualified themselves. When the same commie and socialist types who are against paying for policing also insist on gun control, can we believe that they really have the interests of poor people at heart? The vocal commies and socialists who lead the charge against capitalism and wealth want one thing, and that is to control governments themselves so that they can rape private property holders and the “wealthy”. They intend to inflict their own totalitarian measures.


8:20 am on March 5, 2018