Ongoing Troy power outage keeps DTE and police both busy

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As thousands of Troy homeowners lose their electricity, police work to make sure they don't lose their belongings as well.

It has been nearly two days since fire damaged a DTE power substation there and even the police station is running on a generator. About 3,000 are still in the dark, expected to have service turned back on Saturday.

The cover of night got a little darker in Troy the past two days, where a power outage can prove to be a good place for criminals to do business.

Like an invitation, a darkened lamp post or porch light can make life easy for those out to rip you off or worse. So when the lights went out for nearly 10,000 people living in Troy and Clawson, police prepared for the worst.

"We learned a lot from the 2003 blackout," said Sgt. Andy Breidenich. "We started up our emergency operations center. And we put more boots on the ground, if you will. We decided to have more officers patrolling, getting in the subdivisions just in case there are problems." 

A fire at a Detroit Edison sub-station near Livernois and Big Beaver can be blamed for the troubles. Crews have been working around the clock to widdle down the number of houses without power.. 

DTE has been using portable sub-station set up to handle the extra electrical load while crews work to repair the mechanical failure being blamed for the fire.

Bad timing too, the outage came during a few of the hottest days of the year so far.  

Troy police say sometimes the heat can bring out the worst in people.

"We have had a few more domestics,"  Breidenich said. "More incidents of person on person type. frustrations rise. (But there's been) nothing major because of the blackout."

With that in mind, police have stepped up its presence in neighborhoods suffering from the lack of power.

"It's almost as if we doubled up the shifts," Breidenich said. "If we had seven officers, then we'd have 14 and shift managers to monitor those."

The police department parking lot also served for a drop off and pick up point for those in need of water and ice.

Resident John Krusse took advantage of the free ice. He says he understands a lack of light can put him and his neighbors at risk.
But he says the crime factor is not one of his top concerns in this situation.

"We're a pretty close neighborhood," he said. "We've only got 50 houses in the subdivision ... and we look out for each other."  

He and others appreciate that the police force and other emergency crews have their best interests at heart.

"We know they are concerned about it too," Krusse said. "Because police and fire have operations that are down as well."

At last check there are still 3,000 without power and DTE said the power should be back on by Saturday morning.