City officials celebrated the launch Thursday of the 100th Project Green Light location, a safety initiative they say has reduced violent crime by as much as 40 percent at participating businesses.
The program has brought a sense of comfort to many residents, Mayor Mike Duggan said Thursday at the latest location, Seaway Market Place on West Chicago.
“They are starting to see these locations as zones of safety,” Duggan said, adding he would like to see the Detroit City Council pass an ordinance requiring all businesses open past 10 p.m. to become Green Light locations.
“Can you imagine if all of the gas stations, party stores, supermarkets, coney islands, bars, everybody who is taking people after 10 (p.m.). If they all became zones of safety, how much different would this city be?” Duggan said.
The city launched Project Green Light Detroit with eight locations in January 2016 in an effort to create safer neighborhoods. Participating businesses install high-definition interior and exterior video cameras and bright lighting around the exterior. The city’s Real Time Crime Center monitors the video feed.
The camera technology has been touted for capturing clear images of individuals, clothing, vehicles and license plates.
Since its launch, violent crime has decreased by 17 percent at or near all participating businesses, 22 percent at gas stations and 20 percent at liquor stores, according to the city. The original eight green light gas stations have seen a 40 percent reduction in violent crime, officials said.
“This is great news and it’s going to continue to expand,” said Police Chief James Craig. “Criminals are no different than entrepreneurs who make cost-benefit decisions. And now they know that Green Light is everywhere. They don’t want to carjack in Detroit, pull robberies. We will find you. And when we find you, we’ll arrest you because that’s what Green Light is about.”
The city has also experienced an overall 40 percent drop in carjackings, officials said. “There’s no question that Green Light has been a significant part of that,” Duggan said.
Kenyetta Campbell, who lives in the neighborhood and is executive director of the Cody Rouge Community Action Alliance, shops at Seaway Market Place. She said the newest Project Green Light location will increase the comfort level for residents, including her mother and father, who also live in the neighborhood.
“I honestly already feel safe here,” she said. “I think it will definitely increase the safety of other people. I think people will see it and they’ll want to stop and shop. It’s a quality grocery store.”
City Councilman Gabe Leland gave credit to business owners like Eddi Aboona of Seaway Market Place and others for their participation in the program.
“It does reduce crime,” he said. “If people have the perception they’re at a Green Light, they’ll think twice.”
In September, the city announced a partnership with Comcast to make the camera technology affordable for businesses. That same month, the city partnered with DTE Energy, which offers rebates for Green Light businesses.