In some areas there has also been a growth of citizen patrols. These differ from private security patrols in that they are not commercially based and usually involve local residents. The rationale is twofold:
- That local people know their areas and can focus their strategies accordingly; and
- That voluntary patrols benefit the community without incurring an economic cost.
In Britain, there have been a number of high-profile examples of local citizens patrolling their areas to prevent crime. One of the more prominent examples was in Balsall Heath in Birmingham, where local residents combined to prevent prostitutes and their customers using their area. Patrols directed to specific places and activities, such as this one, are probably more successful than general patrols.