Private security efforts improve safety in downtown business district
Cameras, cameras and more cameras.
“You’ll see them cropping up on a lot of the main corners and then a lot of the buildings that are being renovated,” said Jeff Myers who works at Digitas in downtown Detroit.
If you have yet to notice the cameras in the downtown business district, know that those camera are watching every move you make.
A woman who identified herself only as “Star” has seen them. “On Buildings. In light posts, street lights, everywhere,” she said.
Detroit 2020 was granted an exclusive first look inside a high tech, multi-million dollar security control room built for Dan Gilbert’s ever-growing business empire. “This monitors our activities in 7 different states and 5 different locations,’ said Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Rock Ventures. ” It’s really the hub of all of our security activities for the enterprise.”
Gilbert has invested over a billion dollars in downtown Detroit. Rock Ventures now owns or controls more than 40 properties—including the M@dison building. “We monitor almost a thousand cameras in all of our different locations, over 300 cameras in metro Detroit, really concentrated in our area here,” Cullen said.
The cameras are part of a collaborative effort that includes most of the big downtown property owners – General Motors, Ilitch Holdings and Compuware .
Once a month representatives from the companies meet in a Board Room at Compuware headquarters. Members of the Detroit Police Department, Wayne County Sheriff, Wayne State police and private security forces are also represented. The Downtown Detroit Partnership helps coordinate the sharing of information and strategies.
“With the tens of thousands of employees that we all have down here, it’s important to have some type of coordination,” said Denise Starr, chief administrative officer of Compuware Corportation.
Those employees are taking note of the stepped up security measures. “I’ve noticed daily the increase in the amount of security that’s walking around and on bikes and in cars and things, so I definitely think it’s gotten a lot better over time,” said Courtney Jenkins, who has worked downtown for the past 16 months at Quicken Loans.
Back to the cameras–operators can zoom right in on individuals. All of the images are recorded. Should an incident occur in the downtown area, the images will help police pursue possible suspects.
New Detroit Police chief James Craig applauds the partnership, calling it a win-win for the city.
“I’m hopeful that sometime in the very future that the Detroit Police Department can replicate and even expand beyond the technology being used in Rock’s Ventures,” Craig said. “Right now, as it stands, we are invited in and use their center for major events in the downtown area, and its proved to be very effective.”
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