Staggering freeway shootings could get a new crime-fighting tool

Project Green Light Detroit
Posted at 4:35 PM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 17:21:11-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The numbers are staggering: An average of five shootings happened per month on metro Detroit freeways during the last three years.

They are triggered by road rage, arguments between family and friends, drugs and gangs.

The second year of team police enforcement called Operation Brison kicked off Thursday with Detroit and 40 area police departments.

Two-year-old Brison Christian was killed last June while riding with his family in a car on I-75 in a case of mistaken identity. Two alleged gang members have been charged with murder in the case.

New technology is being discussed that is already in use in the city. Project Green Light Detroit has been online for years with state-of-the-art surveillance cameras rolling 24/7.

Freeways have traffic cameras from the Michigan Department of Transportation, but they can’t zoom in and get a clear picture of a car or a license place after a shooting.

“We’re not looking to write a ticket for speeding with cameras on the freeway. We're talking about cameras that can save lives if someone uses a weapon on a freeway, which puts every single person, every family at risk in every community, not just Detroit,” Detroit Police Chief James White said.

In 2020, some 60 freeway shootings happened. In 2021, 67 in all of metro Detroit; 51 were in the city and 5 were fatal.

“You're driving 70 to 80 miles an hour on a freeway, you hear a gunshot, you don't necessarily stop to pause or get the plate and vehicle description you just go into a mode of self-preservation,” White said during the Operation Brison kickoff event.

7 Action News reporter Simon Shaykhet’s story on Brison played during the kickoff. Brian Christian, Brison’s dad, told us, “Living without Brison, the fact that he’s not here. You know all the memories you know, it still makes me teary.”

Funding for the cameras would still need to be determined. Green Light business owners pay for their cameras and get top priority for Detroit police response.