Private Security For Detroit Neighborhoods Urged By Community Groups

Plan Would Allow Neighborhoods To Use Public Funds For Private Security

A coalition of citizens and community groups is pushing Detroit City Council to make use of a recently amended Michigan law to charge residents for a private security force.

A section of Michigan's Home Rule City Act, which was modified last December, allows cities with more than 600,000 people to pass ordinances that assess fees for services like security and snow removal. These ordinances could create special assessment districts that would need the approval of at least 51 percent of property owners in those areas to enforce any charges.

Karen Moore of the Grandmont Rosedale Neighborhood Development Corporation spoke on behalf of the plan before City Council on Tuesday. She said residents want private security to make up for lack of service from the Detroit Police Department.

The city of Detroit's recent financial troubles have forced the police department to reorganize and scale back on some services.

In January, the department announced the creation of "virtual precincts" plan that closed brick-and-mortar precincts between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m., directing residents to phone call-in centers instead.

Earlier this month, the department proposed setting up a police reserve program that would call on retired officers and recent police academy graduates to volunteer for the force. The city's Board of Police Commissioners has also proposed a public safety millage to fund the cash-strapped department.

But now residents are taking matters into their own hands.

"The nice thing about this is it will allow us to define security services," Moore told Talk Radio 1270 host Charlie Langton. "It might be extra patrols, it might be monitoring equipment or security cameras."

A similar measure that did not cover the entire city was unsuccessfully proposed in 2003, according to MLive.

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