Here is a bit from NPR of all places about the use of private hitmen being used to combat the notorious gangs of Guatemala.
Now in general, I like market solutions to problems. But the libertarian in me does question the ability of businesses to guarantee their work. Or even the use of that kind of coercion to prevent the death of family members to gangs that are willing to chop a child up and send the bits back to dad so he'll pay his "Protection Money"
In all fairness though, this system of privatizing hitmen in order to keep the gangs in check has been successful. From the Article:
Lots of us have left the gangs. We don't want to return to that life. We're trying to do better.I don't care if these people get weepy over the death of their counterparts. I honestly don't care. You willfully and brutally violate the property rights of other individuals and then suddenly you get upset when that populace you've been molesting refuses to look to the corrupt government for protection (protection incidentally that they won't find).
Now granted, much of the gang crime we see in the world is drug related, so ending the war on drugs and legalizing the distribution of substances will be a giant step forward in terms of eliminating the economic incentive for gangs to operate. Still I'm glad to see a free market solution to the problem. It would be interesting to see a contrast study done of losses paid out in protection money and the cost of using mercenaries to kill your extortionists.
[Hat tip to WoG]