DETROIT (WWJ) — Angels’ Night was a success for the city of Detroit with a record low number of fires across the city.
Firefighters responded to 38 fires over the past two nights. Of those, 27 were structure fires (houses or garages) while others were primarily trash or car fires. Eleven fires were deemed suspicious.
This year’s figure is down slightly from last year when there were 41 fires during the first two nights of the anti-arson campaign. It’s a stark contrast to the past.
The day before Halloween has historically been a time of destructive mischief in Detroit. Vacant houses began to be torched in the 1980s, and the city had more than 800 fires during the Halloween period in 1984.
However, that’s no longer the case in large part because of a number of community events across the city. Supervisor of Community Policing Sgt. Shirley Bledsoe was at one of the events on Monday night, and said the Angels’ Night initiative has really helped get kids off the street and out of bad situations.
“Just a party to get the children off the street,” Bledsoe told WWJ Newsradio 950. “Things are getting a lot better in the city so we want to let them know that we want to partnership with them. We want them to partnership with the Detroit Police Department and let them know that we are friends. The Detroit Police Department is here to bridge that gap. That starts with the little ones.”
Nearly 800 residents showed up to the Angels’ Night family-friendly event at the 12th precinct. An estimated 6,000 volunteers helped put on this year’s event.
City officials also changed the Angels’ Night effort this year to focus more on Halloween activities for kids. There will be carnival games and trick-or-treating at the city’s recreation centers starting after 5 p.m. on Oct. 31. A full list of city-sponsored Halloween activities can be found at angelsnight.org.