Detroit Businesses Pay Police Thousands For ‘Green Light’ Priority Police Protection, Mayor Supports Scheme
The Detroit Police Department is charging businesses thousands of dollars for a tiered system of protection that includes faster responses and video surveillance (video below).
Marathon gas station manager Sadek Kaid told The Detroit News how he got a delayed police response when he dialed 911 because the station is not a “Green Light” business:
The dispatcher said, “It’s because you don’t have the Green Light.” The customer was in here destroying the store, throwing everything off the shelves. He was here for almost an hour before he left. When the police finally came, they told us the Green Light locations get priority.
Detroit businesses have to pay the police department between $4,000 and $6,000 to join Project Green Light, which includes Priority 1 status on police dispatches and the installation of video surveillance at businesses.
On top of those fees and regular city taxes, businesses have to pay a monthly fee of up to $150 for video storage.
Abdo Nagi, owner of a 76 gas station, noted that he has to pay taxes and should be treated equally without shelling out more money for a city service:
It’s not fair. We should all be equal. I pay high taxes already. Now I have to pay extra to get the police to come?
Don’t get me wrong: If someone has a weapon and we call the police, they get here fast.
But with other things, it takes a long time. There were kids in here beating up another kid last year, and by the time the cops got here, they were gone.
Police Chief James Craig claimed that the cops are not neglecting non-Green Light businesses:
With crimes in progress, we should have responded quickly whether they were Green Light locations or not.
If you don’t sign up for Green Light, we’re not going to ignore you, but we do expect if you don’t join the program, you should have a relationship with the neighborhood police officers, because it’s their job to work on quality-of-life and crime issues for all businesses, Green Light or not.
It’s not clear what this “relationship” with “neighborhood police officers” is supposed to entail.
According to an agreement with the City of Detroit, if there are simultaneous calls from business owners with similar crimes, police will go to the Green Light business first.
Mayor Mike Duggan suggested that business owners who don’t pay extra for the Green Light treatment are somehow complicit with criminals:
The level of enthusiasm is so high. Our resistance comes almost entirely from people who appear to have a relationship with the people up to no good in their parking lots.
Local TV stations such as WXYZ have parroted the Green Light project PR without questioning the extra payments by businesses for city services.