Occasionally I like to take the time to look into stories that I find a little bit fishy. I do it as a sort of exercise which usually lends credence to the old saying "Don't believe everything you read."
I got into this one after reading a post a friend made on Facebook which linked to a story on The Free Thought Project titled Texas Town Experiences 61% Drop in Crime After Firing Their Police Department. The article essentially says that in 2012, the city of Sharpstown "fired their cops" and "hired S.E.A.L. Security Solutions, a private firm, to patrol their streets." A representative of the security firm is quoted saying "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.
After looking into it a bit I found similar stories had been released within the last couple of days such as Texas City Gets Rid of Police Dept., Hires ‘SEAL Security’ — Guess What Reportedly Happened to Crime from the Blaze, Texas Town Fires Entire Police Department, Crime Drops by 61%, from Infowars and Texas town sees crime drop by almost two thirds after firing police, hiring private security from Rare. As the titles suggest, these stories all either directly state or indirectly imply that the city of Sharpstown fired their police department and hired a private security firm to take its place. But is this actually what happened? In a word, no.
According to Wikipedia, Sharpstown is a master-planned community in Greater Sharpstown, Southwest Houston, Texas which is served by two Houston Police Department patrol divisions. For many years, the Sharpstown Civic Association had contracted with Harris County Constables for additional patrols but due to budgetary issues ended the relationship in 2012. It is this arrangement for additional patrols that the above articles are referring to when they state that the city fired their police department.
I'm not sure if this is a matter of shoddy journalism or a deliberate act to fabricate a story which would be more appealing to their readers? As it took very little effort for me to discover the truth, I'm inclined to think it's the latter. The sad thing is, there was a perfectly good story here which didn't need to be based on the false claim that the town fired their police department. It could have been titled something like, City of Sharpstown turns to private security to help patrol its streets. The article could then talk about how the constables used to be contracted to patrol the area but that the security firm does the job at half the cost and with better results. See, no need for the lies and false implications.
NEIGHBORS WORRIED AFTER CRIME SPIKE IN SHARPSTOWN
Popular Constables On Patrol Program (COPS) Discontinued