DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Detroit residents are ready to patrol their neighborhoods over the Halloween period to help prevent arson, especially in vacant structures.
The annual Angels’ Night volunteer effort is credited with radically reducing the number of intentionally set fires at the end of each October. The observance this year runs Tuesday through Thursday. Teams of residents, block clubs, community groups and churches are to conduct street patrols.
“We are asking residents and our friends from metro Detroit to join us again this year in our efforts to protect our city during this period,” Bing said in a statement earlier this month about the effort. He plans to be on the streets starting Tuesday evening with police, firefighters and volunteers.
The program is a long-running response to what used to be known as Devil’s Night, the day before Halloween. In 1984, the city had more than 800 fires during the period. Last year, 93 fires were reported.
Officials plan to enforce two emergency ordinances this week in the effort to prevent fires.
The first ordinance is an emergency curfew for minors, which requires anyone who is 17-years-old or younger to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. for two nights starting Tuesday.
During the emergency curfew hours, minors will be allowed to travel to and from work, educational or training programs, but they must carry proof of employment or attendance. Minors violating the curfew will be ticketed and held until picked up by a parent or guardian. Parents may be ticketed if a child violates the curfew.
The second ordinance prohibits the dispensing of fuel into portable containers until the end of the day Thursday, except for in certain emergency situations for those 18-years of age and older.
In addition to volunteer patrols, city officials are encouraging all residents to:
- Turn on outside lights at their homes from dusk until morning on each day of the Halloween period.
- Report any suspicious activity they observe to the Detroit Police Department by calling 9-1-1.
- Place refuse containers or bulk items at the curb before 7 a.m. on the morning of the collection day, rather than the night before, and remove refuse containers immediately after the trash is collected.
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