Greektown is first Project Green Light Corridor

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Detroit — Eleven more Greektown businesses launched Green Light cameras on Tuesday, making the district the first Green Light Corridor, officials announced.

Businesses get lights, signs and cameras installed to alert customers they are members of the program.

The Greektown partner businesses entered into a three-year agreement to pay $250 a month for three high-definition cameras for police to monitor in real time when an emergency call is placed.

Project Green Light began in January 2016. Coordinating with Greektown businesses began in July after three people were arrested in a brawl in April and three others were shot outside a party bus in June. Chief James Craig said if Greektown had had Green Lights during the brawl, they could have located suspects in less time.

“We’ve had situations where we’ve made arrests fairly quickly, but imagine when that brawl took place, the call would come to our Real Time Crime Center and then we would have immediately been able to see the images and send officers quickly,” Craig said at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We’ve seen a number of times when people come into a Green Light location, like gas stations, (see) the light, the signage, and say not here. The idea that they’re being watched changes the game totally.”

Craig said citywide, there has been an average 23 percent reduction in crime, including a 44 percent decrease in carjackings in two years at 247 Green Light locations. Craig said non-Green Light locations will not be ignored despite recent allegations by gas station owners who said they weren’t getting timely responses to 911 calls if they didn’t sign up for the program.

“Today, you can drive along Grand River or Livernois and other major roads and see rows of flashing green lights on individual business,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. “We have also been able to work out financing options for small businesses who are doing this because they value the safety of customers.”

Duggan said people are treating Green Light locations as sanctuaries if they witness crimes nearby.

“We’ve got 80 individual businesses backlogged in the pipeline ... it’s going to be months to get through the folks that have voluntarily signed up,” said Duggan, who encouraged businesses sign up with others in their area.

Partnering Greektown business include: 438 Macomb Building, Atheneum Hotel, Astoria, Pappy Sports Bar, Park-Rite, PizzaPapalis, Redsmoke, Santorini, The Greek, Wahlburgers and Greektown Casino-Hotel.

Along the corridor, there are 15 cameras with four lenses each and seven light pole signs placed by Detroit Police Department.

Jim Pappas, who owns the Atheneum, 483 Macomb Building and Santorini in Greektown, said he joined Green Light to ensure the safety of his customers.

“We see it as a tremendous tool and I hope to advise other districts to join to make Detroit safe everywhere,” said Pappas. “For the safety of customers, of all people ... it’s not much.”

Tasso Teftsis, president of the Greektown Preservation Society, said the group is pleased to be among the first corridor.

“Even though Greektown historically has been one of the safest areas of the city, we feel that joining the Green Light program will add one more layer of comfort for our visitors and guests,” Teftsis said in a news release.