Oakland Residents Crowdfund Their Own Private Police Force, Because They Can

Abby Zimet

In a move that reflects America's growing chasm between haves and have-nots, the residents of three middle and upper class neighborhoods in Oakland - close by moneyed Silicon Valley but home to rising crime rates and a "broken" undermanned police department with a history of violence and racism - have banded together to crowdfund their own private security patrols. Supporters argue they're entitled to feel safe, even when it means "taking matters into (our) own hands." Critics question a social contract that only offers a basic civic good to those who can afford it. As to the rest, let them eat poverty, unemployment, chaos and crime.

“We shouldn’t have to do this,” says Steven Kirsh, running the last of three Rockridge campaigns, “but we need to do this."

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