Senior complex residents lobby for Green Light cameras

George Hunter
The Detroit News

Residents of an east-side senior apartment building say they’re fed up with crime and want Project Green Light cameras installed in and around the facility and others throughout the city.

Katherine Richardson, 65, president of the tenant council in the Parkview Place Senior Facility on Chene joined elected officials and others Wednesday in calling for public and private funding to help install the Green Light cameras.

“At one time, the drug dealers took over this building, and I had to fight to get them out,” said Richardson, who has lived in the building for seven years. “Now, they’re trying to come back. People are breaking into cars in the parking lot ... we just want to feel safe in our homes.”

City officials insist since management companies that run senior facilities are for-profit businesses, they should pony up like other businesses that have joined the program.

“That’s not to say we can’t have that conversation,” said Alexis Wiley, chief of staff for Mayor Mike Duggan. “Maybe there are grants that would help. I don’t know if there are, because nobody has contacted us about this. This is the first we’re hearing about it.”

Representatives from Bingham Farm-based Continental Property Management, which runs Parkview Place, did not immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Project Green Light was launched in January 2016, and now has 170 participating businesses, Wiley said. Under the program, high-definition cameras and lighting are installed in and around stores, gas stations and other establishments. Video from the businesses is piped live into the Detroit Police Real Time Crime Center, where police and civilian employees monitor the feeds.

Joining the program cost $5,000 for businesses that require lighting installation. A grant from DTE Energy allows participants to pay $999 down and pay off the rest in increments. The high-definition cameras cost between $140 and $160 per month for maintenance.

Green Light businesses receive extra police patrols, and offer investigators clear video of anyone committing crimes at the locations. Last week, an initiative was launched that will see former military veterans riding bicycle patrols throughout the city, including a focus on Green Light businesses.

City councilman Andre Spivey told The Detroit News he plans to introduce a proposal to make joining Project Green Light mandatory for any business that serves customers after 10 p.m.

Detroit Police Commissioner Willie Burton said Wednesday he would like to see the city match funds to help get Green Light cameras into senior facilities.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “We have commitments from the private sector to help get this done, but we’re looking for more from the public sector. There’s no question that Green Light prevents crime. The seniors at Parkview deserve this, as do seniors throughout the city.”

Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware said she is looking into securing public funding to help install Green Light cameras and lighting in senior centers.

“The seniors came to us and said, ‘what can you do?’ ” Ware said. “I will work to secure funding for this much-needed Green Light project.”

Former state Rep. Mary Waters added seniors living in apartment buildings should feel safe.

“There are doors that don’t work in some of these buildings; anyone can walk in off the street,” Waters said. “We need to keep track of who is coming in and out of these buildings.”

Detroit Police spokesman Michael Woody said: “I fully support the effort to have more Green Light locations. Anything we can do to assist in helping our seniors live in a safe environment, we’re happy to do our part.”

Wiley said the management companies that own the buildings should pay like everyone else.

“If this is a management company that’s taking in money, if their residents say they want Green Light in their building, then (management) might want to listen to them,” Wiley said. “Everyone who’s joined Green Light has put some skin in the game.”

(313) 222-2134

Twitter: @GeorgeHunter_DN