Residents wanting to hire private, armed security does not surprise me in this age of municipal budget cuts (read: fewer police on the streets.)
As some of the comments suggest, why don't residents buy their own firearms and protect their own neighborhood? Why is it that the "solution" is to hire someone else to provide protection? Is it because people are generally brainwashed into compliant little sheep who believe that only some Mystical Magical Force is capable of providing security? Are they lazy? Stupid? Something else I'm missing here?
I'll reckon that bad guys will be more hesitant to mess with the neighborhood if they know each and every resident is armed, trained, and ready to defend life and property with the requisite and legitimate force necessary. That does not mean you have to form armed patrols to walk the streets day and night. What it does mean is that the bad guys will go looking for softer targets or might even eventually reconsider their present means of employment and move on to something more legitimate.
Good people must take a stand. Paying an armed guard service is not taking a stand.