Shock Statistic: Americans Freely Spend Twice The Amount On Private Security vs. Police

November 23, 2011

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Seriously, this just blew me away.

William Norman Grigg writes:

According to the most recent available statistics regarding incarceration, however, people convicted of actual crimes compose a very small minority of America’s vast and growing federal prison population. As of 2009, crimes of violence accounted for roughly eight percent of that total, and property crimes contributed a bit less than six percent. More than half of all inmates were convicted of non-violent drug offenses, and thirty-five percent were caged for what are called “public order” offenses.

Libertarian activist Michael Suede points out that eighty-six percent of all federal inmates were punished for what are called “victimless crimes” – that is to say, offenses not properly described as crimes at all. It is reasonable to assume that similar trends exist at the state and local level as well.

There are instances in which police act in defense of persons and property. Those are genuinely exceptional, because rendering that service is not part of their formal job description: The Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that police have no enforceable duty to protect individual rights. This helps explain why, as economist Robert Higgs pointed out roughly a decade ago, “there are three times as many private policemen as there are public ones.”

In choosing to pay for private security assistance, Americans freely spend more than twice the amount stolen from us each year to pay for the government’s armed enforcement caste. This is because the government that takes our money fails to provide the promised social good – protection of life and property.

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