Detroit gears up for annual Angels' Night campaign

Oct 25, 2011

Detroit officials are finalizing plans for the city’s annual Angels' Night campaign.

That’s an effort to put a damper on the arson sprees that once characterized the  “Devils' Night” period around Halloween.

In the three days up to and including Halloween last year, Detroit recorded 169 fires. That’s far fewer than the worst Devil’s Night years in the 1980s. But it’s still about twice as many as the average three-day span.

Detroit Deputy Police Chief James Tolbert said officials want to bring that number down to normal.

“Our goal is simple,” Tolbert said.  “The Detroit Police Department and the community are united to provide a safe environment for the visitors and residents of the city of Detroit.”

Tolbert said police and fire patrols will be “highly visible,” and supplemented by volunteer citizen patrols.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Donald Austin said his department will do something new this year to keep patrols up all night.

“Typically our volunteers kind of fall off during those very early morning hours , between 3 and 6 am,” Austin said.  “And we’re going to supplant that effort with our fire apparatus--that’s not currently on an incident-- driving around communities they feel may be a challenge.”

Austin said he’s also worked out agreements with suburban fire departments in case Detroit firefighters need back-up