// Premiere : DTM

Detroit Threat Management is premiering on Saturday, December 15th at 7pm at The Jam Handy in Detroit!
The address is 2900 E. Grand River, Detroit, and admission only costs $5!

Press Release:


This new documentary, DETROIT THREAT MANAGEMENT, is a complex urban narrative that chronicles the work of the VIPERS, a citizen-activist-paramilitary force with a self-described mission of “protecting Detroit from predators.”

Part urban paramilitary, part public servants, part peacekeepers, are the VIPERS filling a disturbing gap in public service? Or are they a vigilante movement with little accountability? What do they indicate about the future of urban neighborhoods? Is their success a reflection of individual citizens’ willingness to bypass police and invoke their own protection to cope with pervasive violence and crime? Are they a miscarriage of vigilante justice waiting to happen?


With unprecedented access to recruitment, training, patrols, incident response and individual VIPERS’ lives, DETROIT THREAT MANAGEMENT presents the men and women who join this team, the man who leads them, the citizens they protect and serve, and the city where the VIPERS were launched and now operate.

This “only in America” documentary, with its multiple perceptions, is told in a Detroit dialect that combines traditional documentary narrative with a fly-on-the-wall, direct cinema quietness. The film breaks down assumptions and expectations about the VIPERS and builds them back. In doing so, perceptions are both challenged and reinforced.

DETROIT THREAT MANAGEMENT allows viewers to slip inside the VIPERS’ emerging story and participate in making meaning out of their existence. Each audience must find its own truth about this private security force and its role in the community.


Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman is a director of documentaries, narrative films, music videos and animated shorts. After graduating from the University of Chicago, he moved home to Detroit and began producing independent documentaries in collaboration with a local newspaper. One of the documentaries he started there, Incinerator, aired on WTVS-TV56, Detroit’s PBS station. In 2010, Hurwitz-Goodman traveled to Ghana where he spent eight months as the videographer for Create Change, a non-profit that focuses on girls’ education and clean water access in rural Northern Ghana. He was the recipient of the 2011 Edes Award for Emerging Artists from the University of Chicago and the September 2012 grant from Detroit SOUP, an organization that helps fund entrepreneurial projects. Both awards allowed the production of DETROIT THREAT MANAGEMENT.


Hurwitz-Goodman filmed the VIPERS for two years including a non-stop two months during the summer of 2011. He chronicled their activities including training, dog breeding and stealth boat patrols on the Detroit River. Final editing of DETROIT THREAT MANAGEMENT was informed by discussions at the 2012 Focus Night Series, a series of eight evening events during the spring and summer where local filmmakers showed clips of their works in progress. Audiences gave input and feedback to the directors in sometimes lively discussions.

Among the numerous Midwestern filmmakers who contributed to the project, Detroit musician Dave Rosman scored the film, and Canadian filmmaker Shane Smith did color correction.