He’s shaming alleged illegal dumpers, prostitutes and Johns with cell phone videos that he posts to YouTube.
Jonathan Pommerville lives in Brightmoor with his girlfriend on Detroit’s northwest side. Some say it’s one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city. With the volunteers of Northwest Brightmoor Renaissance he hopes to clean up his street.
“Rather than saying hey it is what it is. It’s up to us to protect our communities especially if the cops aren’t going to do it for us,” said Pommerville in an interview near the site of one of his most popular YouTube videos.
Is a camera as powerful as a gun or a badge?
Pommerville believes it is. “It’s kind of like cockroaches. They don’t like any light on them and they scurry right off,” he explained.
It started as record keeping and amusement, but after seeing brazen repeat offenders Pommerville decided to expose it to the world.
He thinks the area’s crime reflects poorly on him and his irrigation business. “If I tell people that I’m from Brightmoor they’re like ‘what’s wrong with you?’ It’s nothing wrong with me it’s what’s wrong with the folks that are actually doing these things in our neighborhoods.”
How does he strike fear into the alleged lawbreakers?
“My girlfriend says it’s the beard,” says Pommerville with a smile, but knows the real power lies in public shaming. He pulls no punches posting graphic video of their activities including their faces and license numbers.
Pommerville encourages other residents to use his tactics that he finds effective.
In addition to keeping an eye and a camera lens on the neighborhood, Pommerville works with other area residents to put some of the vacant land to use. Their group, the Northwest Brightmoor Renaissance is developing a community garden with bee hives for honey, vegetable planters and fruit trees. They plan to build a pavilion to process and give away to the area participants.
Pommerville blames city officials for the problems of crime. He explained how it stems from officers who lived in the communities were eventually replaced with outsiders.