Private security firms are facing greater scrutiny in the Bay as more individuals and corporations begin using their services in an increasingly turbulent atmosphere surrounding the area. [SPONSORED]
There is already a local law meant to regulate private security companies, but the San Francisco Board of Supervisors fears it isn’t being properly enforced. The law is 50 years old, and the Board feels the security firms could use more oversight. It currently says private security firms have to register with the city, follow rules established by San Francisco’s Police Department, and pay annual fees. Now, a six-month study will review that 1972 law.
So why the review? San Francisco Board Supervisor Catherine Stefani requested it specifically. The Chronicle reports Stefani says her constituents believe some security guards are guilty of racial profiling.
“What became clear, almost immediately, was that Article 25 [of the 1972 law] is not currently implemented in any meaningful way in San Francisco, nor have we unearthed any evidence of it ever being implemented since 1972,” Stefani said to the Chronicle. “Something needs to be done.”
Stefani oversees the northwest district of San Francisco. She says she’s received reports from that area about people being harassed by security guards when they were merely walking down the street. There was also an incident in 2021 when a Black child in the fifth grade was falsely accused of stealing from the Castro Safeway on Market Street. One of Stefani’s constituents, Katie Colley, says she witnessed a security guard following and threatening a 12-year-old child of color, as well as a Black teenager being threatened with a gun by a private security officer.
The review of the 1972 law will add new provisions to protect against discrimination. It will also create a complaint process so members of the public can report security guards for violating that law or others. Further, there will be a new process for the San Francisco Police Department to regulate private security firms in the city.
The San Francisco Police Department says it’s supportive of the review, but does have concerns about local provisions being superseded by state law.