Detroit City Council considering requiring some business to have surveillance

Posted at 4:00 PM, Jun 05, 2017

Should businesses opened late in Detroit be forced to pay for and provide police with surveillance video? City leaders are talking about an ordinance making them do just that.

Councilman Andre Spivey is currently working on a draft of an ordinance that would expand Project Green Light Detroit. Under the project right more more than 100 businesses have signed up to voluntarily pay for surveillance cameras monitored by Detroit Police.

Councilwoman Mary Sheffield says there has been talk in the community that perhaps the program should be mandatory for businesses open past 10:00 p.m.

“It is unfortunate, but we see a lot of high crime at liquor stores, gas stations, corner stores where they are open past 10:00 p.m.” said Sheffield.  “This is about reducing crime and making our city safe.”

The ACLU is raising concerns that this could violate the fourth amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. The constitution requires a warrant before evidence, like video is seized

“We have concerns about mass surveillance,” said Rodd Monts, Field Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan.  “We don’t feel people because they live in the city of Detroit should be subject to big brother practices.”

“I know we won’t pass an ordinance without the city law department looking at it and making sure we aren’t violating privacy concerns,” said Councilwoman Sheffield.

It isn’t clear yet what exactly would be required of businesses, the fees they would have to pay, or whether the video would be available in real time for police. The draft of the ordinance is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.