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UPDATE: Since publication of this story, it has come to our attention that our sources contained serious factual errors about the extent of Sharpstown’s change in police force, the alleged drop in crime, and even the nature of Sharpstown itself. We would like to apologize for sharing this misinformation, retract our original article below, and direct Rare readers to a more accurate account here.

Sharpstown, Texas, a mid-size city near Houston, decided not to renew its contract with the local police department back in 2012. To replace them, the town hired a private security firm, SEAL Security Solutions, to keep the area safe.

The results have been remarkable. “Since we’ve been in there, an independent crime study that they’ve had done [indicates] we’ve reduced the crime by 61% in just 20 months,” said James Alexander of SEAL. He attributes the success to a larger force of officers and more time spent on patrol.

The new contract also saves local taxpayers some $200,000 per year, as SEAL’s services are cheaper than the costs of maintaining the old constabulary. Another benefit, as The Free Thought Project points out, is that private security firms do not have government officers’ near immunity from legal consequences of misconduct and abuse, meaning they’re more likely to be respectful of people’s rights and property.

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