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Rockland Community Hires Security Firm To Patrol When Cops Can't

ORANGETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- They are going beyond the law.

That's the approach of one well-to-do neighborhood dealing with crime and turning to some unusual measures to protect itself.

In a quiet well-kept neighborhood in Orangetown residents are on edge.

"It's upsetting. Everybody's on pins and needles," resident Ian Bauer told CBS 2's Scott Rapoport.

A string of smash-in burglaries -- half a dozen since November -- has many here alarmed.

"It's scary for us. It's scary for our spouses, our kids. No one wants to be home alone," resident Gerry Creagh said.

Though local police said they are on the case and investigating, nervous neighbors said they've been tight lipped on details, not wanting to jeopardize the investigation -- which has led to neighborhoods hiring private security firms to beef up protection.

Rapoport saw an official looking patrol vehicle with emergency lights. The man inside was former FBI Agent Peter Marinaro. Again, he is not a police officer.

He is part of the private security firm hired by some of the residents a few weeks ago to provide an extra deterrent to burglars -- and an extra sense of security for themselves.

"They were very worried that they might be next," said Patrick Brosnan, CEO of Brosnan Risk Consultants.

Brosnan said he understands. He himself lives in the neighborhood and said he's partially subsidizing the effort out of his own pocket, noting the extra patrols will protect him as well.

"Quite frankly, the police can't be everywhere all of the time," Brosnan said.

The security patrol is not authorized to make an arrest. Rather, they check for suspicious activity, and record license plates of suspicious vehicles in the area.

"We're instructed to observe and report to the police any activity that we see here," Marinaro said.

The unusual move of hiring private security has caught the attention of local police here.

"They call us if they see something suspicious. That's what we need. We need them to communicate with us," Orangetown Police Lt. Donald Butterworth said.

They are a group of neighbors going the extra mile to feel safe in their homes.

Thus far about 15 households in the neighborhood have chipped in for the security patrol, which covers about 200 homes.

No one Rapoport spoke to for this story would reveal the price tag for the service.

Think this is a good idea? Worry it might undermine police? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.

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