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Chavez, Karbassi Seek City Funding for Cameras to Combat Retail Theft



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Fresno City Councilmembers Luis Chavez and Mike Karbassi said Tuesday that they will introduce a budget proposal aimed at organized retail theft and other property crimes.

They want the city to spend $100,000 on a pilot program — Project Spotlight — to install real-time camera connections at local retail businesses that can be viewed by the Fresno Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center.

Karbassi and Chavez say their idea is based on the success of Project Green Light in Detroit. Chavez visited there earlier this year as part of a best-practices exchange with Detroit officials.

“For too long, local businesses in Fresno have become victims to repeat organized theft and other property crimes,” Karbassi said in a news release. “Project Spotlight has a demonstrated record of success in tackling property crimes.”

Success in Detroit

The Detroit program began with the placement of cameras and a trademark green beacon on eight gas stations. Since launching in 2016, the program has grown to more than 550 businesses.

In addition, a U.S. Department of Justice study found that the number of reported property crimes at participating businesses decreased by roughly 27% compared to non-participants.

The $100,000 sought by the councilmembers would fund the installation of cameras and a Project Spotlight beacon at chosen retail sites. The funding also provides technical assistance in connecting cameras to Fresno PD.

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Bill McEwen is news director and columnist for GV Wire. He joined GV Wire in August 2017 after 37 years at The Fresno Bee. With The Bee, he served as Opinion Editor, City Hall reporter, Metro columnist, sports columnist and sports editor through the years. His work has been frequently honored by the California Newspapers Publishers Association, including authoring first-place editorials in 2015 and 2016. Bill and his wife, Karen, are proud parents of two adult sons, and they have two grandsons. You can contact Bill at 559-492-4031 or at Send an Email