Michigan Town Adds Cameras to Business District

June 19, 2007
Target and business association partner with police in delivery of municipal surveillance

FLINT TWP. - Smile, you now could be on security cameras if you're in one of the township's business districts.

Eighteen security cameras now are in operation as part of the township's Safe City surveillance system. Police, with the help of a major business sponsor, placed signs around the business district Tuesday announcing their presence.

The signs, 50 in total, are located primarily along commercial stretches of Linden, Corunna, Miller and Lennon roads, which lie within the vantage point of the cameras, said Flint Township police Lt. Jim Iacovacci.

Members of the Target store on Miller Road helped place the signs, which announce in red lettering that the area is under surveillance.

The retailer also is sponsoring an online site, scheduled to begin operation in a few weeks, that will enable subscribers to receive information and video images from the police department.

Connection to that site will be free to any party, be it a commercial or private interest, Iacovacci explained.

The feature can be used to alert businesses and citizens about ongoing crime, warn retailers about the presence of known shoplifters in the area (while sending photos of the suspects) or announce the possible abduction of a child, he said.

Once it's up and running, Iacovacci said, the system "will be the first of its kind in the state of Michigan."

The camera system, formally called the Flint Township Police Safe Zone, was activated last November from three sites on Linden Road at Lincor Plaza.

The video signals from all cameras are transmitted to a control room at police headquarters. The current infrastructure is capable of handling up to 75 cameras, Iacovacci said.

Every day, more businesses are asking about joining the system, which can be upgraded once the current capacity is reached, Iacovacci said.

The concept for the cameras was developed two summers ago, but the initiative got a boost last year from a $150,000 grant from the township's now defunct Central Business Development Authority and the local Target store.

In 2005, Target invited Iacovacci and Chief George Sippert to Minneapolis to view its own elaborate security system in operation.