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Perception vs. reality: Safety in Live6 discussed at Speakeasy event

Attendees of the event

Local student talks safety in area

A panel of safety experts

Audience members listen intently

Audience member asks a question

Audience member asks a question

Safety is a key part of a sustainable, vibrant neighborhood—residents and businesses want to live and work with peace of mind. For many who aren't familiar with Detroit's neighborhoods, the reigning narrative about how safe a neighborhood is can be less than flattering.

On Friday, January 20, the Live6 Alliance and Model D Media collaborated for another SpeakEasy community event where over 70 students, residents, business owners, and interested parties participated in a community conversation to discuss the security of the neighborhoods in Live6.

Panelists included Captain Joel Gallihugh from the University of Detroit Mercy, Roosevelt Lawrence from Marygrove University, Sara Thornton from CompStat at the Center for Urban Studies at Wayne State University, Sergeant Sherley Bledsoe of DPD's 12th Precinct, and Karen Brown of the Green Acres Radio Patrol. They answered questions and concerns from community members about what is currently being done to address safety in the Livernois/McNichols corridors.

Discussions tackled topics like the perceived versus actual crime in the area, as well as the expansion of university police forces into neighborhoods. The latter is new development spurred by recent state legislation that allows private schools to leverage their security teams off campus.

Cheryl Kearney, who grew up in Martin Park, noted that residents would likely welcome having police monitoring in their neighborhoods. She also brought a historical context to the discussion, pointing out that when Florence Street was blocked off, it altered the relationship between Detroit Mercy and the surrounding neighborhoods.

Also a topic of discussion: Project Greenlight, a collaboration between the Detroit Police Department and gas stations to install cameras that feed to police stations. While it was touted as a way to keep businesses safe, business owners were quick to point out cost to participate in the program (close to $8,000), which can prove prohibitive for smaller organizations.

Conversations like those facilitated at the SpeakEasy event are the first of many steps to help create a better sense of community between the people who live, work, and go to school in the Live6 neighborhoods. The perception of safety and reality on the ground will have an outsized impact as Live6 continues to be a hotspot for development.
 
This story is part of Model D's "On the Ground" series, which gives voice to the community members, businesses, and developers who make the Live6 neighborhood come alive. Support for this series is provided by the Kresge Foundation

All photos by Bree Gant

Read more articles by Terryn Hall.

Terryn Hall is a Detroit Revitalization Fellow and writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, The Root, and others. You can follow her on twitter @terryngrams.
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