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Detroit Mayor Wants All Late-Night Businesses to Join Project Green Light Surveillance Program

The city will begin requiring security camera systems for businesses open midnight-4 a.m., with an eventual mandate for businesses open after 10 p.m.

DETROIT — Mayor Mike Duggan wants to see participation in the city’s Project Green Light, a real-time crime monitoring system, extended to every retail business in Detroit with late-night hours.

The surveillance project is said to be the first public-private-community partnership of its kind, blending a mix of real-time crime-fighting and community policing aimed at improving neighborhood safety and promoting revitalization and growth of local businesses. As part of the program, participating businesses install high-definition (HD) indoor and outdoor video surveillance cameras.

In a recent interview with Crain’s Detroit Business, Duggan said he will ask City Council later this year to mandate Project Green Light HD video systems for all retail businesses open after 10 p.m. The mandate could affect as many as 4,000 businesses open after 10 p.m., though the mayor said the video surveillance systems would be phased in given the program already has a backlog of voluntary participants and a shortage of installers.

“I think the votes on council are there now,” Duggan told Crain’s. “But there’s no point of making it mandatory if we haven’t finished the backlog of voluntary [businesses].”

Since January 2016, about 230 businesses in Detroit have voluntarily signed up with the city to have Comcast Business install video surveillance systems inside and outside of their businesses that are marked with an exterior green light that’s meant to let would-be criminals know they’re being recorded.

The security cameras and signage at Detroit businesses participating in the Project Green Light program are credited with a 40% decline in carjackings and overall decline in crimes around the participating businesses, Crain’s reported. The city uses Genetec’s Citywise initiative to leverage systems and connectivity to enable higher degrees of safety, security and operational efficiencies.

City officials expect to have 400 businesses in Project Green Light by year’s end, Duggan said.

Businesses in the Green Light project get extra patrols from Detroit Police Department officers who stop in to sign a log book, documenting the visit. Startup costs for getting the surveillance cameras installed ranges between $1,000 and $6,000, with monthly costs for cloud storage of the video starting at around $140.

Officers can access the live video feeds inside DPD’s Real-Time Crime Center in the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters on Third Avenue.

Duggan and Police Chief James Craig are expected to announce 2016 crime statistics Thursday that will include the fewest number of homicides in Detroit in a half century. The Detroit News reported Dec. 28 that the city was on pace to have 267 criminal homicides — the lowest total since 1966 when there was 214 homicides.

“Carjackings are down 40 percent in two years,” Duggan told Crain’s. “There’s just no other explanation besides Green Light.”

The variety of businesses in Detroit using the Green Light service vary from fast-food restaurants and gas stations to Bel-Air Luxury Cinema on Eight Mile Road and Fairlane Senior Care & Rehab on Joy Road.

Duggan told Crain’s the city will start with requiring the camera systems for bars, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses open between midnight and 4 a.m. during the “highest risk” time for crimes to occur. Then the city will move to businesses open after 10 p.m., he said.

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