Earlier, in 2016, The City of Detroit launched a new surveillance program called “Project Green Light” in view of crime rate reduction.
Businesses in the city can sign up for the surveillance program and purchase surveillance equipment, enabling live streaming of the video footage to the Detroit Police Department (DPD). If a partnering/signed up business calls 911 for emergency response, the team inside the DPD crime center is alerted of the emergency, which will allow them to play the live footage of that location.
In its statement, the DPD said that the program has resulted in a 31% decrease in violent crime in and around the Green Light locations since the program initiation on Jan. 1st, 2016. Also, reports are that a whopping 500+ businesses have already signed up for the surveillance program.
Now based on these lines of the success of the “Project Green Light”, the DPD and city officials are gearing up for the launch of a similar surveillance program, mounting up the city traffic lights with surveillance cameras. However, the new proposed program has entered into the turbulent water with some Detroiters opposing the idea.
In an interview with The Detroit News, Eric Williams, an attorney who is working with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan on the issue, said: “We operate as a society on the premise that the government will stay out of our business unless they have a reason not to”. “This completely changes that equation. The default in our society should not be that the government is watching you.”
Speaking on this context, Police Chief James Craig said that the citizen’s privacy concerns are misguided. The project proposal is for the public space, where there is no right to privacy. “What I’m confused about is: Are (critics) more concerned about protecting the rights of criminals to prey on our citizens than they are about having a safe community? We’re not going to be spying on people; all we want is be able to go back and look at the video from traffic signals if there’s a crime we’re investigating,” Craig said.