Who Knew They Were So Cheap


You can buy a cop’s soul for a measly $3,000-$6,000. I hope every one of them realizes how their bosses and unions have just debased them. They probably don’t care – if they were the kind of people who care, they wouldn’t be cops. If you recall, I believe that being a cop is one of the handful of inherently immoral jobs [stderr].

Detroit has started a program that ought to be familiar to everyone who has ever seen any protection racket in a movie: cop as a cloud service. They call it “Project Green Light” and, for now, it’s voluntary. Eventually they want to make it mandatory. [cdwt]

Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration is moving forward with a plan to eventually mandate every retail business in Detroit with late-night hours have surveillance cameras tied into Project Green Light, the Detroit Police Department’s real-time crime monitoring system credited with a decrease in carjackings and overall crime around participating businesses.

In an interview Wednesday with Crain’s, Duggan said he will ask City Council later this year to mandate Project Green Light high-definition video systems for all retail businesses open after 10 p.m.

Duggan said the city will start with requiring the camera systems for bars, restaurants, gas stations and other businesses open between midnight and 4 a.m. during the “highest risk” time for crimes to occur. Then the city will move to businesses open after 10 p.m., he said.

But it’s selective policing, only for those businesses that pay for it:

Businesses in the Green Light project get extra patrols from Detroit Police Department officers who stop in to sign a log book, documenting the visit. Startup costs for getting the surveillance cameras installed ranges between $1,000 and $6,000, with monthly costs for cloud storage of the video starting at around $140.

Officers can access the live video feeds inside DPD’s Real-Time Crime Center in the Detroit Public Safety Headquarters on Third Avenue.

The cops have even come up with a great argument for why businesses that don’t make the payoff are suspicious:

“There’s no doubt there’s businesses in this city that are in partnership with the drug dealers out in their parking lots, who don’t want the green light,” the mayor said. “I’m letting the neighbors deal with that.”

So: no cops for you. And you are probably a criminal if you don’t sign up for this little exercise in corruption.

“It’s not fair,” said Abdo Nagi, owner of a 76 gas station on Grand River on Detroit’s west side that is not part of the program. “We should all be equal. I pay high taxes already. Now I have to pay extra to get the police to come?”

Nobody else wants to see the police come. The next step in this game is for people to pay for the police to not come.

The cops are already lying about the effectiveness of the service:

“Carjackings are down 40 percent in two years,” Duggan told Crain‘s. “There’s just no other explanation besides Green Light.”

Unless the carjackings are happening in bars, or right in front of cameras, maybe it’s that they’re down because people are giving up going to those neighborhoods.

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Prediction: that system is going to get hacked to pieces. I’ll bet the endpoints are some kind of basic web drop-cam, and those things are full of great big holes. If the cops are smart or lucky they won’t integrate their monitoring network with their cop-network backplane.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    Businesses in the Green Light project get extra patrols from Detroit Police Department officers who stop in to sign a log book, documenting the visit.

    Why bother? They’re on high definition video.

  2. says

    And here I was thinking that every citizen is entitled to receive police services for free. After all, police is funded with taxpayer money. Only private businesses are supposed to charge money for protecting you.

    This makes me wonder just how much further crazy American capitalists can go. Even better question is why people should pay taxes if all the government services must be purchased later at an extra cost.

  3. Holms says

    “There’s no doubt there’s businesses in this city that are in partnership with the drug dealers out in their parking lots, who don’t want the green light,” the mayor said. “I’m letting the neighbors deal with that.”

    And here I am thinking their own argument undermines their position: if those unsurveilled business have high likelihood of crime, shouldn’t police maintain an in-person presence there?

  4. Dunc says

    You can buy a cop’s soul for a measly $3,000-$6,000.

    Given the typical condition of a cop’s soul, that seems a bit steep actually.

  5. says

    “There’s no doubt there’s businesses in this city that are in partnership with the drug dealers out in their parking lots, who don’t want the green light,” the mayor said. “I’m letting the neighbors deal with that.”

    Right, you want everyone else to indulge in blackmail, too. Gosh, how strange for cops to not want to be where crime is happening. :eyeroll:

  6. says

    Dunc@#5:
    Given the typical condition of a cop’s soul, that seems a bit steep actually.

    Like bitcoin, it may be a bubble. Cops souls typically trade at an inflated multiple over their actual value.

    Also, when you say “buy”, is this some kind of time-share arrangement with Satan?

    Satan doesn’t mind them doing whatever evil they can while they are on earth, because he gets them in the end. Ia! Ia!

  7. komarov says

    Oh, that’ll do well. Hack into the system and you can track the cops! Assuming some extra knowledge such as the number of patrols on the move in a given region you just wait until they pop up in one of the feeds and promptly know where they are and can avoid them. You could probably launch a one-person criminal enterprise without ever leaving your home / secret hideout.
    1) Hack into the cameras
    2) Run the feeds through recognition software to automatically raise an alert if a copper is spotted
    3) Cop IDs and locations go to a database
    4) The database pings your criminal customers’ phones alerting them to nearby patrols etc.
    (Bonus: 5) Sell on the “Meta”-data from your clients’ smartphones to crime syndicates. It doesn’t have to be useful data since it’s Big Data (TM) (R) (c) ($$$) )

    If you are a bit more hands on stealing the security equipment could be another nifty revenue stream. Sure, even quality surveilance gear is not necessarily expensive anymore. But while you’re up there disabling the camera before starting your burglary in earnest you might as well take it down and with you.

    As a business owner I might be tempted to pin up a copy of that poster outside my store. It’s not illegal* and it might make an impression on would-be burglars. Worth a try, at least. The worst case scenario might be technophiles ransacking my store looking for the cameras. Well, that and cops upset about their rip-off being ripped off. But I’m sure they wouldn’t mind because all they want is to deter crime, right?

    *Copyright infringement? Just use a sufficiently altered poster. False advertising? I’m not selling a product, the police is. Which is rather sad.

    Re: chigau (#6):

    Will they use drone-strikes to stop crimes-in-progress?
    That would be fun.

    Not half as much fun as sending in a hundred-strong armed special unit, backed by tanks and helicopters to shoot up the place.

  8. says

    *Facepalm*
    *Head-desk*

    Concussion.
    ___________________

    Has anyone, ANYONE, in US politics hear the phrase “conflict of interests”? Financing police from fines they issu is an inherently bad ide, and this even more so. This is, just like said in the OP, protection racket pure and simple. It is not policing, it is mafiosing.

  9. Peter B says

    Marcus Ranum: If the cops are smart or lucky they won’t integrate their monitoring network with their cop-network backplane.

    And if not some hacker has a nice backdoor into the cop-network.

  10. lanir says

    My first thought: I wonder how long until there’s some form of “people of walmart” thing getting published where everyone can see it?

    My second thought: If I were into betting I would start a pool about the above.

  11. says

    “There’s no doubt there’s businesses in this city that are in partnership with the drug dealers out in their parking lots, who don’t want the green light,” the mayor said. “I’m letting the neighbors deal with that.”

    I can’t quite tell what this is supposed to mean. I have some options:
    1) Pay us money or you’re an automatic suspect. Expect to have your entire business confiscated.
    2) If your neighbor is a drug dealer, you’re on your own. We’re not going to help you in any way.
    3) If your neighbor isn’t part of the program, feel free to smash their storefront. We certainly won’t arrest you for it.

  12. jimmf says

    Well, the State already has the numbers sewn up, what else are the small timers supposed to do to get a little extra. They don’t even have to declare it on their income tax. Sounds like a win to me.

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