In Clinton Township, Michigan, a growing number of businesses will be able to provide recorded video from a new required surveillance system.
Michigan’s most populated township recently enacted a local ordinance requiring certain businesses —such as banks, liquor stores, firearms dealers and coin dealers— to install video surveillance systems.
“Everyone wants the video,” said Detective Capt. Richard Maierle, who came up with the plan to increase interior and exterior surveillance.
The township board in March approved the ordinance, but gave local merchants six months to comply. It took effect Oct. 1.
Maierle said the ordinance requires business owners o have video that covers the entrances, exits, cash registers and parking areas.
“We’ve been getting quite a few phone calls from business owners, now that the ordinance is in effect,” he said. “We are getting a lot of compliance.”
Township Supervisor Robert Cannon said businesses that are targeted as having a higher than normal chance of requiring police service were asked to comply. He said Deputy Supervisor Elizabeth Vogel conducted research on ordinances requiring outdoor cameras and found only one, so Clinton Township adopted a similar one.
And a number of crimes have been solved because of the cameras, he added.
“Ironically, most businesses already have cameras,” he said. “Those that don’t will find the prices are down and the quality is up. Thanks to technology, we can see license plates and details on faces.”
Clinton Township has found video footage to be a very effective tool as evidence in a criminal trial.
Video played an integral role in solving two of the town’s most notorious homicides in recent years.
One of those was the March 2014 shooting death of Basim (Basil) Sulaka during a robbery of the Moon Lite Party Store on Harper Avenue. The other, which took place almost one year later, helped convict the suspects who shot and killed Emil Salem during a robbery at Bernie’s Party Store on Garfield Road.
More recently, several homeowners’ exterior cameras captured footage of a 20-year-old man suspected in several home invasions in the area of 15 Mile and Kelly roads. Thanks to the footage, police were able to arrest and charge Jalen Pope-Poole of Detroit. He is being held on a $150,000 bond.
Had it not been for the video, investigators say, the cases likely would have gone unsolved.
Business operators who fail to comply with the township’s ordinance, face a fine of up to $150 a day.