When it comes to reducing crime in the city of Detroit, the Duggan administration is banking on the idea that better technology is going to help.
The city announced today that at a Valero gas station on Telegraph in Detroit that Project Green Light is now partnering with Comcast to make the camera systems more affordable.
Initially, the program cost $6,000 up front to join and connect to the city’s real time crime center. Now, the technology giant Comcast is offering eligible businesses the ability to join the program for $1,000 for camera installation and as little as $140 additional per month for cloud storage and leasing the camera equipment (based on existing Internet service provider and plan).
The cloud storage provides 30 days’ worth of video so it will be easily and immediately retrievable by the store owner or Detroit Police, if needed. The system is also connected to a real time command center, which today Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said they’re expanding.
According to city officials, Project Green Light has 42 businesses online. That’s up from the original eight when the program launched at the beginning of the year. Comcast has already been offering the distributed payment plan to businesses, and the company says 50 businesses have expressed interest in joining the program.
What about results? Those that have been in the program the longest the city says have experienced a 50% reduction in violent crime at their establishments and Detroit Police Chief James Craig also talked about carjackings being down.
The city has a full time staff at the Detroit Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center and it monitors video from the businesses around the clock. That call center is expanding (more on that in a minute).
The program, the chief says, was modeled over the Project Lighthouse that has blue lights and blue signs in downtown Detroit.
“Since we have gotten our green light, the crime has been down like crazy at my stations. My employees are safe, my customers are safe,” said Mo Rustam, owner of the Valero station on McNichols and Telegraph. “$140 a month is not a lot. It is really important to me is my customers and my employees … You’ll wake up in the morning and you’ll have no calls that something happened at your place. I hope everyone gets it going.”
Here’s a break down of the details on how much the program actually costs. In pricing terms, it works much like the home security system offering Comcast/Xfiniti offers on the consumer side, but more involved. The upfront cost for Comcast Business’ base package installation is $999.95 and includes one indoor and three exterior cameras, and each additional camera is $199.95. On a monthly basis, it’s $139.75 for four cameras (which you’re renting along with 30 days of cloud storage with Comcast) and that cost could go up with additional cameras.
Mandatory Participation On The Horizon?
Mandatory Participation by businesses is an idea that’s definitely on the horizon and alluded to many times during the press conference.
Councilman Andre Spivey originally introduced an ordinance in 2014 that would have required all businesses open from 10 p.m. to have cameras, and it was trimmed back to become basically what the voluntary Project Green Light program is today.
However, heavy hints were dropped at the press conference and multiple sources tell Daily Detroit that there’s a high possibility that by January 1, 2017 there will be an ordinance like the one originally proposed by Spivey to have cameras connected to the central command center and just part of the price of doing business in Detroit after a certain hour.
“Assistant (Police) Chief White will have his full blown crime center built by the end of the year. Right now they are working in a confined area with a lot of monitors but we are building them one of great real time crime centers in America. It’s going to be live by the end of the year,” said Duggan today.
The would put Detroit in a class of cities like London, Chicago, New York and others who are building large surveillance networks with the goal of enhancing their policing.
“You don’t get our green until you get a green light,” said District 1 Councilmember Janaee Ayers today, referring to her desire that Detroiters should shop at Green Light locations over others.