Davie Street Parking Deck
Greensboro, NC -- After thousands of calls to 911 in recent years about incidents at Greensboro parking decks, a pilot program aims to make them more secure.
The city hired private police officers to patrol the Greene Street and Davie Street parking decks. One of the officers patrols both decks in a vehicle.
The officers began last week and work in conjunction with the Greensboro Police Department, and are fully certified law enforcement officials who have the same arrest authority as police, according to city officials.
The officers patrol the two decks Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. According to the city, the two decks were chosen because they have the most traffic during those times.
The program is aimed at cutting loitering, crime and prank 911 calls. The Greensboro Police Department received 2,384 calls about incidents in or around the city's four parking decks in a two-year period that included 2008 and 2009. A large number of those were false reports, according to the city.
WEB EXTRA: See the crime stats from 2008 and 2009
"I'd be interested to know after a few months what the change really has been and if it would be worth it over the long haul," said Kimberly Strickland, who parks in the Greene Street deck.
Michael Speedling, interim assistant city manager for public safety and human resources, said the city will make modifications to the program based on input from Greensboro Police.
The pilot program is scheduled to run until June. If it is successful, it will continue into the next fiscal year.
The city already installed additional lighting, security cameras and call boxes in the parking decks, according to the release.
Speedling said the officers will cost about $360 a night. Each officer will make about $18 an hour.
"The city does not have to pay legacy cost for things like retirement and other benefits because that's paid out of the contract by Lankford protective services," he said.
WFMY News 2