There’s more to living in a historic district than just following historic rules. The fact of the matter is that residents must also be vigilant about the neighborhood and community that surrounds them. Detroit’s Historic Indian Village could write a book about the impact their security measures have made.
Within any grassroots volunteer group, there are always those outstanding individuals who shine. One of those is resident and current Historic Indian Village Board President, Doug Way. Way has been instrumental in both continuing and implementing new security plans. Like all successful volunteers, he has built the present security strategies on the ideas of those who came before.
Beginning in the 1980’s, neighbors formed a community patrol and called it HASP, Historic Area Security Patrol. At that time, CB radios were used to communicate between those on patrol and a base operator located in the police mini-station housed at the edge of the neighborhood. As a direct result of their many hours of patrols and communication with the Detroit Police, there was a measurable reduction in area crime. Eventually, when it was no longer needed, it was disbanded.
Approximately three years ago, it became necessary to bring HASP back to the community. Doug Way, and long-time resident, DC Moore, initiated this. Both were instrumental in submitting all of the necessary paperwork and permits to get this important group back up and running. Currently HASP has been running patrols once again for more than three years. Since then, this volunteer patrol has been both directly and indirectly responsible for 17 arrests.
HASP volunteers sign up for minimum patrol of two hours a month. Rather than the original CB radios, cell phones are now used to communicate with the base volunteer. No volunteers patrol alone or without a base. During their regular patrol duties of observing, unknown automobiles are noted and when practical, license numbers are recorded. Loiterers and their descriptions are noted. Volunteers also have a list of current vacant homes in the neighborhood. Volunteers walk the vacant properties, check doors and windows and report any changes noticed since last patrol. There can sometimes be comical results to this particular duty. For awhile, patrollers were, unbeknownst to each other, reporting each other’s footprints in the snow as possible criminal activity. After each patrol, volunteers submit a written report.
In addition to HASP, Way began the practice of installing silent alarms in neighborhood vacant homes. Residents close to those homes monitor these alarms. Knowing that vacant home B&E’s are not high on police dispatch lists, long-time resident, Judy Delusky founded the Indian Village Flash Mob to address the need for a more immediate response. When a vacant home silent monitor goes off, both the police and the Flash Mob volunteers are alerted. Armed with cameras, volunteers surround the home while aiming high beam car lights on the address. This measure has also resulted in arrests.
Way is also Chair of the long-running Indian Village Security Committee. As Chair, Doug directs and schedules the HASP volunteers, often participates in emergency security calls, and, with the core committee, meets monthly with the Detroit Police Commander to review neighborhood concerns. During the Security Committee meetings, current crime statistics are reviewed. For many years now, these have been tallied by resident, Bruce Peterson, enabling the neighborhood to know exactly where crime troubles stand. They also discuss current HASP patrol reports, active area police actions and develop informed security measures for the upcoming month. All of this is reported to the Historic Indian Village Board of Directors.
Approximately seven years ago, the association Board of Directors recognized the need for additional security beyond the reaches of the neighborhood volunteer efforts. After much discussion, research and neighborhood meetings, Indian Village hired Dusing Patrol. They now supply a majority of the resident’s home security in addition to patrol that has proven to be above and beyond original expectations. Patrollers are even at hand if a resident wishes to call when coming home late. They will watch until you are safely inside. Dusing also works with the volunteer efforts already in place and keeps in constant communication with the Detroit Police Department.
In addition to the organized groups reported here, there is also HACUP. There are many dog walkers in Indian Village. HACUP is an informal “organization” of residents that patrol the neighborhood with their dogs and cell phone at the ready. This all started 20 years ago. If anything is seen out of the ordinary, the Dusing patrol, 911 or a neighbor is called to help check on the concern. Each patroller is well known. Equally, each patroller is familiar with the neighborhood due to their regular patrols and immediately know when something is out of place. As a result of their effectiveness, other historic neighborhoods have since hired Dusing Security.
The ever-observant members of this tight-knit community are proud of the successes their grassroots efforts have made to date. They are equally proud of their volunteers who help make this all possible.