Township Explores Security Options at Northville Psychiatric Hospital
Township considers methods to discourage trespassers.
Northville Township Police issued 222 trespassing citations on 608 runs in 2012 for those caught trespassing at the former Northville Psychiatric Hospital site at Seven Mile and Haggerty, according to Public Safety Director John Werth.
Werth and township officials are looking at ways to discourage unwanted visitors from trespassing onto the grounds of the blighted psychiatric hospital, including exploring new technologies and utilizing the grounds for training exercises to maintain a frequent uniformed presence at the site.
The site often is a popular spot for urban explorers and those intrigued by the site's supposedly haunted origins, but Werth said the blighted property poses a safety hazard to those who trespass.
In a special meeting Thursday, Werth told the Northville Township Board of Trustees he has had discussions with the courts to seek restitution in addition to an existing $450 fine and work detail for those found guilty of trespassing on the site.
Werth said his department takes a zero-tolerance policy on the property, issuing tickets to any and all trespassers. Still, he said, that's not enough to eliminate the problem.
"The only way we’re going to stop it is when the building comes down," Werth said.
Demolition of the property is not expected until 2015. The township also is working on a federal non-matching grant to fund up to $50,000 to replenish the grounds with new trees and vegetation.
The site does afford township emergency personnel some unique opportunities, however, which might also deter trespassers.
On March 12, first responders from departments from around Metro Detroit will conduct anti-terrorism training exercises on the site. Using the site for future exercises for uniformed police and fire personnel, Werth said, could discourage visitors.
Werth and Township Supervisor Robert Nix also discussed eventually looking into equipment such as roof-mounted infrared cameras or cameras mounted on a drone-like object to monitor the grounds.