(WWJ) If the job isn’t getting done, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself.

That’s the message from Rev. Horace Sheffield III, executive director of the Detroit Association of Black Organizations, a group headquartered across the street from a gas station riddled with problems — and bullets.

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After two shootings and even more questionable situations involving robberies, guns and drugs at the Marathon Gas Station at Grand River and Wyoming, Sheffield had to take action.

First, he mulled staging protests outside the station. Then he came up with a more neighbor-friendly idea.

He organized residents surrounding the west side Detroit gas station to pitch in their own money to cover half the cost for the owner to join Project Green Light, which installs and maintains high-definition indoor and outdoor cameras that stream live images to the Detroit Police Department.

It’ll cost nearby residents about $2,500 of their hard-earned money to enhance safety at the gas station, but to Sheffield it’s a wise — and necessary — investment.

“There have been a couple of fatal and non-fatal shootings, robberies and it’s really become the bane of our neighborhood, so we really set out to force them to do this, the community is up in arms,” Sheffield said.

About 30 people showed up at a recent neighborhood meeting to say they didn’t go to that gas station because they didn’t feel safe. And they wanted something done about it. They left agreeing to pitch in enough to pay half the $5,000 cost to join Project Green Light.

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The cost could be burdensome for people struggling to pay basic bills or business owners fighting to stay in business. But Sheffield says there’s a high return on investment because the cameras that come with Project Green Light open up the business to new customers who feel safe for the first time.

“When you see people hanging out outside the gas station, you don’t know if they’re there for good or for bad,” he told WWJ’s Tom Jordan, adding “It absolutely is a deterrent to crime,” he said about the cameras.

He said he sits in his office looking across at the gas station, seeing people hanging around, stumbling on and off the bus stop outside it, and for him the enhanced safety is priceless.

Gas station manager Paul Clay told the Detroit News his boss initially was reluctant to sign up for Green Light because of the cost, and he didn’t appreciate the neighbors ganging up on him.

“I’m not going to sit here and be beat down,” Clay told the group. “Let’s not turn this into a bully situation. Let’s not whip me, because I’m not the dog here.”

After arguing with the neighbors for awhile, he eventually agreed to pay for half the program to make them feel more safe.

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