Private security firms hope to help police improve safety in downtown Raleigh

Tom George Image
Friday, October 6, 2023
Private security firms hope to improve downtown Raleigh safety
EMBED <>More Videos

The hired security patrols do not have arrest powers but are trained, and can be either armed or unarmed.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As Raleigh prepares for First Friday and other weekend events, many continue to be concerned about safety in downtown Raleigh.

This past Sunday, Blount Street was closed for hours after a man was stabbed in the chest near Moore Square.

William Gaston who lives nearby says that he feels safe bringing his grandkids to the park, while also keeping a watchful eye.

"You know it keeps me concerned because this is a good place to bring the children, but then there's activities at night when children shouldn't be here," he says.

Around the corner, Michael Darbouze from Carroll's Kitchen says sometimes his staff feels unsafe. But recently, he has noticed more police presence.

"I do feel like there's some presence there's a police officer or car by the YMCA so I think that's been a deterrent," he says.

Beyond that, some are taking it a step further. Andy Renfrow with the Renfrow Group says his security firm has contracted with over 10 downtown hotels and restaurants to get more eyes and ears on the ground.

"We're showing more of a presence which gives more eyes, more cameras because our officers have body cameras just like law enforcement," Renfrow says.

RELATED | Raleigh downtown business owners make emotional plea for more security, policing

The hired security patrols do not have arrest powers but are trained - and can be either armed or unarmed. Many are retired law enforcement or military.

At a city council meeting, there were renewed calls for the city to hire similar patrols, but the details are still being ironed out.

"I believe police are, you know, in good shape with their resources. However, they're they're struggling just like any other company is down here," he says.

In the meantime, Raleigh Police are working to fill about 90 vacancies. The city has also approved better lighting downtown to deter crime.

Check your zip code in the ABC11 Neighborhood Crime and Safety Tracker