Detroit's proposed Project Green Light mandate draws backlash from business owners

Businesses open late may be required to join program

DETROIT – Police say the crime rate is declining in Detroit and they are crediting the decline to efforts like Project Green Light, but the surveillance system could become mandatory for late-night businesses.

Project Green Light is a partnership between business and the Detroit Police Department in which high-definition cameras feed surveillance video to the Real Time Crime Center, where authorities can monitor businesses live.

The Detroit City Council is now thinking about making the project mandatory for businesses that stay open late.

Mayor Mike Duggan said making the project mandatory wouldn't start until businesses stop voluntarily signing up. Some eight systems have been installed every week and there is a six-month backlog of installations.

“There will come a point when the voluntary installations run out and then I think the council will take up the ordinance, but that’s not anytime soon,” Duggan said.

Duggan said that if the project became mandatory, it would probably start with businesses staying open through 4 a.m.

But the system comes with a hefty price tag – thousands for the equipment and a monthly Comcast fee to keep the cameras feeding live.

One of the biggest perks of being part of Project Green Light is police response. 

“In the event of an emergency, businesses are required to call 911, and DPD is immediately notified of the incident at a Green Light location,” according to the Project Green Light website. “The run is considered a Priority 1.”

The Detroit Police Department released unofficial crime statistics Thursday showing that carjackings were down 41 percent in 2017. The decline is believed to have been the result of Project Green Light.

Hice Sleiman, manager at American Coney Island, said the city should pay for the service if they want it.

“We already have secondary (security),” Sleiman said. “We have police officers here. It’s better that way.”

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