Neighborhoods, businesses turning to private security companies for protection

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s no secret the Albuquerque Police Department needs more officers, and with the constant crime in the Duke City, people are turning to other options.

Unable to solely rely on police, many are turning to private security companies.

Jesse Mendez owns Blackthorn Protection, it’s a small private security company that he says is booming.

Everyday, Mendez says he finds people where they’re not supposed to be.

Some are just homeless, but others are burglars.

“We used to just patrol parking lots, parking infractions, and now we’ve gone to wearing bullet proof vests,” Mendez said.

He explained that more and more, people and businesses — even realtors — are looking for extra protection.

“Getting calls around the clock,” he said.

“Everything from shopping malls, movie theaters, banks, private businesses, residential, everything you could think of that law enforcement is involved in, but we’re doing it on a privatized level,” explained Aaron Jones, IPS President and CEO.

IPS has 85 marked patrol units and more than 100 security officers.

Jones says Albuquerque’s criminals keep him busy.

“Ever since we’ve been in business, we’ve seen nothing but an upward sprial,” Jones said.

He explained that his private security business doubles every year and he can’t hire security guards or buy units fast enough.

“We’re getting a lot of burglar alarm responses and a lot of crimes in progress,” he said.

Retired APD Officer Daniel Magetteri says private security is filling a gap where APD is shorthanded.

“What we’re able to do is cut down the response time and I think that’s one of the main services that we’re affording our clients,” Mageterri said.

APD says these private security companies are a good tool and resource for police. Police say even if APD were fully staffed, there would still be a need for security companies.

APD still needs about 140 more officers.

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