The Center for Competitive Government (formerly the Privatization Research Center) deals with description, evaluation and planning of innovations by government. Current research projects include the following:

  • identification of “best practices” in competitive government
  • city by city and state by state comparisons of innovative practices in government
  • privatization of police, water and wastewater and transportation facilities
  • restructuring police emergency response, including burglar alarms
  • public-private partnerships of free trade zones
  • national analysis of contracting-out efforts, including states’ human services.

Director

Dr. Simon Hakim
Director, The Center for Competitive Government
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Just Published

Call for Papers

Editors: Drs. Brian Meehan, Simon Hakim, and Erwin A. Blackstone

Tentative List of Authors

What is the Purpose of this volume?

Police on occasion have abused citizens’ rights and engaged in excessive violence attributed partially to their monopolistic stance, their training, and legal protections they often enjoy.  The monopoly power of police also allows them to be inefficient, have reduced incentives to address constituents’ preferences, and be slow to adopt technology, like cameras, in part due to budgetary constraints and bureaucratic procedures.

Competition from private security improves police performance and encourages police to be more responsive to citizens’ preferences and avoid abuse, because of the possibility of their being replaced for some services by private .  Competition will enhance citizen perception of freedom by reducing abusive behavior of police.  This competition is likely to benefit especially lower income individuals and minorities that have been subjected to discriminatory behavior. Reducing monopolistic power has been shown to invigorate an industry, making it more innovative, and more responsive to consumer desires.

Currently, police officers provide a wide range of services from protecting infrastructures, patrolling, investigations, and highly sophisticated computer crimes. Many of these services can be performed by private security services at similar or superior quality to the public services. Allowing private security  to fulfil some of these lower skilled services also frees up sworn public police officers to pursue other types of crime control. These private security officers also, on average, have lower wages than their public counterparts, thus saving resources through the process of specialization. On the other hand, the highly skilled IT and accounting related crimes are inadequately dealt by police officers while requiring higher skilled and paid individuals.  Using private security for both low and high skill activities may allow police to focus on the middle range of their “traditional” crime related activities, which they are better trained to conduct. It would also limit their involvement with citizens, reducing chances of untoward outcomes’.

Our published work already shows the advantages of this competition and collaboration for police.  For example, between 94-99 percent of burglar alarm responses are to false alarms.  Accordingly, initial response does not need to be addressed by highly paid sworn officers.  In case of an actual or attempted burglary, public police would be dispatched by private security to confront the criminals, their major obligation.  Our research shows that requiring initial responses by private security in Salt Lake City reduced burglary rates and police response times to all calls, enabling them to address other problems, while saving the city substantial sums.

Citizens and police often see the emergence of private security as competition for the public sector police and perceive this as a bad thing for public safety. Our work also shows that increases in barriers to entry into the private security industry (sometimes initiated by public police), reduce the number of operating private security firms. This reduction in private security entities is also correlated with increases in various types of property crime.

Increased use of private security would create more competition for public police and encourage their improved productivity and technology adoption.  Increased competition to police can be achieved by addressing each of their activities.  When police serve specific households, like responding to alarms or animal control, such private services could be shed to competitive private providers who would charge for their services. Collective goods provided by police can be contracted out while remaining under public supervision, recognizing the issue of measuring output.

Interested authors please contact:

Dr. Simon Hakim, Director
Center for Competitive Government
Professor of Economics
Temple University

hakim@temple.edu
Phone 215-204-5037
Cell 215-806-5019

Forthcoming Books

Editors: Drs. Brian Meehan, Simon Hakim, and Erwin A. Blackstone

What is the Purpose of this volume?

Police on occasion have abused citizens’ rights and engaged in excessive violence attributed partially to their monopolistic stance, their training, and legal protections they often enjoy.  The monopoly power of police also allows them to be inefficient, have reduced incentives to address constituents’ preferences, and be slow to adopt technology, like cameras, in part due to budgetary constraints and bureaucratic procedures.

Competition from private security improves police performance and encourages police to be more responsive to citizens’ preferences and avoid abuse, because of the possibility of their being replaced for some services by private .  Competition will enhance citizen perception of freedom by reducing abusive behavior of police.  This competition is likely to benefit especially lower income individuals and minorities that have been subjected to discriminatory behavior. Reducing monopolistic power has been shown to invigorate an industry, making it more innovative, and more responsive to consumer desires.

Currently, police officers provide a wide range of services from protecting infrastructures, patrolling, investigations, and highly sophisticated computer crimes. Many of these services can be performed by private security services at similar or superior quality to the public services. Allowing private security  to fulfil some of these lower skilled services also frees up sworn public police officers to pursue other types of crime control. These private security officers also, on average, have lower wages than their public counterparts, thus saving resources through the process of specialization. On the other hand, the highly skilled IT and accounting related crimes are inadequately dealt by police officers while requiring higher skilled and paid individuals.  Using private security for both low and high skill activities may allow police to focus on the middle range of their “traditional” crime related activities, which they are better trained to conduct. It would also limit their involvement with citizens, reducing chances of untoward outcomes’.

Our published work already shows the advantages of this competition and collaboration for police.  For example, between 94-99 percent of burglar alarm responses are to false alarms.  Accordingly, initial response does not need to be addressed by highly paid sworn officers.  In case of an actual or attempted burglary, public police would be dispatched by private security to confront the criminals, their major obligation.  Our research shows that requiring initial responses by private security in Salt Lake City reduced burglary rates and police response times to all calls, enabling them to address other problems, while saving the city substantial sums.

Citizens and police often see the emergence of private security as competition for the public sector police and perceive this as a bad thing for public safety. Our work also shows that increases in barriers to entry into the private security industry (sometimes initiated by public police), reduce the number of operating private security firms. This reduction in private security entities is also correlated with increases in various types of property crime.

Increased use of private security would create more competition for public police and encourage their improved productivity and technology adoption.  Increased competition to police can be achieved by addressing each of their activities.  When police serve specific households, like responding to alarms or animal control, such private services could be shed to competitive private providers who would charge for their services. Collective goods provided by police can be contracted out while remaining under public supervision, recognizing the issue of measuring output.

The Mayor’s Summits

  • Mayor’s Technology Summit 2013: The Power of Civic Innovation
  • Mayor’s Technology Summit 2010: The Digital City
  • Mayors’ Technology Summit 2008: Solutions for Safe Communities and Economic Sustainability
  • Mayors’ Technology Summit 2004: Homeland Security, Safety and Economic Development
  • Mayor’s Technology Summit 2003: Homeland Security, Safety and Economic Development
  • Conference of Mayors and CEOs 2001: Seizing the Opportunity of E-Government
  • Conference of Mayors 2000: Making Government Work

Mission, Goals & Strategies

The Center for Government and Technology will provide a leadership forum in public management to foster innovative public-private partnership solutions to local government problems. The Center will promote the improvement of the management of local government services, including health and human services, education, public safety, the administration of justice, transportation, and public services using technology and telecommunications through research, education, and public forums.

Outreach

The Center helps governments identify candidates for privatization and outsourcing, and suggests step-by-step procedures for restructuring public services. The Center organizes conferences, conducts research and consulting projects, publishes reports, books, and articles in academic/professional journals and magazines.

The Center also has substantial experience in conducting large-scale consumer satisfaction surveys for the airport industry. Survey instruments have been developed, verified for statistical significance, and administered to airport passengers and visitors. Center staff have analyzed the results and prepared reports for airport management. Center members have also conducted large-scale consumer surveys for the electronic security industry. They have also participated in surveying a population for regional airport usage. Surveys, especially of airport users, have been an important component of the Center’s activities.

The Center is part of the Fox School of Business and Management. Dr. Simon Hakim is the director and can be reached at hakim@temple.edu or by phone 215-806-5019.