- Associated Press - Monday, April 23, 2018

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit trade school has become the first educational partner in a city program that allows police to monitor surveillance cameras to reduce crime.

Officials installed more than 20 surveillance cameras at the Randolph Career Technical Education Center as part of Project Green Light, the Detroit News reported .

Detroit launched the project in 2016 to create safer neighborhoods. Participants pay between $4,000 and $6,000 to install the cameras and a monthly fee for video storage. Police and civilians monitor the camera feeds.

The initiative has grown to include nearly 300 locations. The Detroit Public Schools Community District has planned discussions with the city about including other schools.

But some students have called the surveillance an invasion of privacy and are circulating a petition asking leaders not to expand the program.

“I feel like it ruins the environment we’re in,” said Alondra Alvarez, a Western International High School student who plans to help collect petition signatures.

Some have questioned the project’s efficiency and scope despite Detroit Police Chief James Craig saying the program has reduced citywide crime by 23 percent.

Police department statistics show an 11 percent decline in violent crimes at or near the project’s locations in 2017 over the previous year.

“The only people who are receiving any tangible benefits are camera providers,” said Eric Williams, an attorney on an American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan committee. “We don’t have any evidence the cameras themselves are reducing crime.”

Williams said the city hasn’t compared crime rates at project locations with those at nonparticipating properties.

“These places should serve as a gathering for the community,” he said. “That kind of constant surveillance is not good for democracy in general.”


Information from: The Detroit News, http://detnews.com/

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