Remember those “Helping Hands” signs on your neighbor’s window when you were a kid? That’s the idea behind Project Lighthouse, an innovative neighborhood watch program designed to keep residents, employees and visitors safer in Detroit.
Here’s how it works. If you’re lost, separated from friends, having vehicle trouble or experiencing other safety concerns look for a Lighthouse banner or logo on one of 30 participating businesses in the Central Business District. These logos and banners identify them as a safe haven to assist those in need. They’re open 24/7. You can also call 313-471-6490.
Just quick note. Project Lighthouse augments calling the police. If you have a serious safety concern call 9-1-1 first for assistance.
“This creates a neighborhood feel for Downtown Detroit and shows what is possible for Detroit,” says Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee. “It creates a different environment and feel. This is the kind of community we are building.”
He says this program can be used as a model in neighborhoods across Detroit … and perhaps across the country.
It’s already working.
A visitor to the downtown area locked the keys in the car. One of our Lighthouse participant’s security team was able to get into their car without having to call on anyone else to assist.
A gentleman traveled by bus to Detroit from Florida. He came to a Lighthouse building to ask for assistance since he had nowhere to stay. He had relatives in Flint but they were not able to pick him up. Security contacted one of the shelters in the area and the gentleman was able to get there to stay overnight until his family could pick him up the next morning.
A visitor to the downtown area discovered got a flat tire. Security at the Lighthouse location was able to assist in changing the tire and to get them on their way.
In each of these cases a uniformed police officer would have had to be dispatched to help. With Project Lighthouse they were freed up to do work on more serious situations.
“Programs such as Project Lighthouse show Detroit’s businesses are invested and vested in Detroit,” said David Blaszkiewicz, president and CEO of the Downtown Detroit Partnership, which helped coordinate the project. “It is a great example of how the city, police and businesses can partner to make Detroit, or any city, a safer place to be. It is one way one to create a robust, sustainable safety and security program that will move those efforts forward.”
The first Lighthouse business locations to display banners are Blue Cross Blue Shield, Detroit Police Department 20 Atwater, Detroit Police Department HQ, Ilitch Holdings, Inc./Fox Theatre, Marriott Renaissance Center and the Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans family of companies in the Chase, Dime and First National Buildings.
Banners will soon be up on several other buildings including the Boll Family YMCA, Book Cadillac Hotel, COBO Center, Comerica Park, Compuware, Courtyard Marriott, Detroit Athletic Club, Detroit Opera House, Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Riverfront Conservancy/Rivard Plaza, DTE Energy, Ford Field, Greektown Casino, Joe Louis Arena, McNamara Building, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Quicken Loans, Renaissance Center, Stay Inn and Suites and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.
A Lighthouse website, which includes a map of participating locations, is housed on the Downtown Detroit Partnership website. For more information go to www.downtowndetroit.org/lighthouse.
The initial Project Lighthouse program was developed by Mike Bruggeman, senior vice president of Rock Ventures, and Rick Fenton, vice president of security of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., in August 2011.