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With the news this week that there are more than one out of every 100 people in prison, and that the United States is the prisoner capital of the world, it appears that there may be an investment opportunity in crime fighting stocks. Here are some companies that battle crime in various ways:

  • TASER International Inc. (TASR) trades on the NASDAQ. It manufactures product lines for law enforcement and the prison corrections market, and includes the ADVANCED TASER M26 and the TASER X26. The stock has a P/E of 50.

  • iRobot Corp. (IRBT) is another NASDAQ stock. It makes robotic products for the law enforcement and the homeland security markets. The make a product called the PackBot EOD, which is a strong lightweight robot to conduct explosive disposal, hazardous materials, and search-and-surveillance for bomb squads and SWAT teams. The stock has a P/E of 51.

  • Brinks Co. (BCO) is in the business of transportation and cash logistics services, and also provides electronic security systems for single-family residences, commercial properties and multifamily housing. The stock has a P/E of 23, a PEG of 1.34, and pays a yield of 0.6%.

  • Protection One Inc. (PONE) provides alarm monitoring services for security of residential and commercial properties. The company serves over 500,000 retail customers. For the quarter ending Sept. 2007, revenues were up 38% but earnings were negative.

  • The largest private prison system by both market cap and revenues is Corrections Corp. of America (CXW), which trades on the NYSE. It is a Nashville, Tennessee-based company with over 40 facilities. It has a P/E of 12.

  • The second largest prison company is Geo Group Inc. (GEO), and it trades on the NYSE. It is based in Boca Raton, Florida, and has facilities in the United States, Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the U.K. The stock has a P/E of 31, and PEG is 1.16.

  • Cornell Companies Inc. (CRN) is a Houston, Texas prison company that trades on the NYSE. In addition to providing detention services, it also provides educational services to detainees. It has a P/E of 27.

  • Avalon Correctional Services Inc. (OTCPK:CITY) is a micro-cap stock which trades on the Pink Sheets. It operates correctional facilities in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado. Recently reported earnings have been negative. Because of its extremely low cap, should be considered very speculative.

  • Disclosure: The author does not own any of the above.

    Source: Crime Fighting Stocks: Eight Ways to Protect Your Portfolio