DTE Energy’s Crime Deterrence Initiative led to the arrest of at least 22 criminals this year and put a stop to two major auto theft related crime sprees in the city of Detroit this summer. Since DTE began the CDI program in 2013, the company has experienced a 50 percent decrease in crime in the area surrounding its headquarters – improving the safety of its employees, visitors, local residents and other area businesses.
Working together with the Detroit Police Department and Wayne State University police, DTE identified a pattern of theft in the Midtown and downtown area that targeted navigation units in Jeeps and newer model SUVs in June. As many as 27 units were stolen from vehicles in a parking structure one night. Thieves removed the built-in units and fled the scene within minutes. Through company surveillance cameras, DTE security officers identified the license plate number of a burgundy Monte Carlo known to be involved in these ongoing thefts. A few days later, DTE’s security team was manning security cameras in its control center, saw the Monte Carlo, and notified law enforcement. Three suspects were arrested and later charged with 25 counts of larceny from a motor vehicle.
DTE’s Director and Chief Security Officer Michael Lynch credits DTE’s success to its strong partnership with WSU police and the DPD. Lynch also explained that by using advanced surveillance technology, DTE is able to increase its efficiency in identifying criminal activity. DTE deploys “bait cars” – unmarked vehicles equipped with up to 18 hidden cameras – not only in and around DTE’s headquarters, but also on Wayne State University’s campus and parts of downtown.
“The well-being and safety of our employees, customers and our neighborhoods is a key priority at DTE,” said Lynch. “Through our partnership with Wayne State and the DPD we’ve been able to stop serious criminal offenders, many with long rap sheets, and dramatically reduce crime in Detroit.”
When a DTE bait car was broken into last April, police identified a black Chevy Impala with a dealer’s plate as the getaway car, but the perpetrators eluded law enforcement. DTE’s security team connected the black Impala to a rash of vehicle larcenies that were taking place in the downtown, Southwest and Midtown area this summer. Through the use of reward fliers, DTE was able to identify the suspects, and five individuals were arrested by the DPD in September.
DTE’s seven-member security team provides surveillance of the neighborhood surrounding DTE’s headquarters through closed circuit television cameras, as well as through proactive patrols on foot, bike and in cars. DTE also employs off-duty DPD officers, as part of its Secondary Employment program. These officers are hired to work on days of the week and times of the day when DTE knows, based on data, that incidents of crime are most likely to occur – often Thursday through Sunday and during big events.
To learn more about DTE’s crime prevention efforts in Detroit, watch WDIV Channel 4’s recent Help Me Hank segment.