DETROIT (WWJ) – Another Detroit Angels’ Night campaign is in the books, and officials are saying it was one of the most successful anti-arson campaigns on record.
For the second year in a row, the city of Detroit saw fewer than 60 fires during the three-day Angels’ Night volunteer campaign, roughly half the number seen annually just a few years ago when the yearly average was close to 100.
By the end of the annual patrol period, which ended at 12 a.m. Tuesday, Detroit firefighters had responded to a total of 59 fires, which included 39 structure fires, 6 car fires, 9 trash fires and 5 garage fires. Last year the city responded to a total of 52 fires – the lowest number in decades. In 2014, firefighters responded to 97 fires.
Mayor Mike Duggan praised the work of police, firefighters, patrol coordinators and the thousands of volunteers who helped in the effort.
“This coalition has brought to an effective end to a difficult chapter in Detroit’s history,” Duggan said in a statement. “What started out as a negative for our city has evolved into an annual community celebration that shows the very best of Detroit. We plan to keep it that way.”
Fire Commissioner Eric Jones said the work of his firefighters and arson investigators, as well as the city’s demolition program, played an critical role in the city’s Angel’s Night success.
“The simple fact is we have 10,000 fewer potential targets for arsonists today than we did three years ago and our arson investigators have been taking more known arsonists off the streets,” said Jones. “As a result, our hard working firefighters now are responding to 30 percent fewer structure fires than they were just two years ago. That means better safety for the public and for firefighters.”
More than 6,000 volunteers participated in active street patrols over this year’s three-day patrol period according to the Mayor’s office.
In the 1980s, the city experienced hundreds of arsons during the pre-Halloween period, with more than 800 in 1984 alone. With few exceptions since then, the number of fires has continued to steadily decrease:
• 1984 — 810 fires
• 1994 — 354 fires
• 2010 — 169 fires
• 2011 — 94 fires
• 2012 — 93 fires
• 2013 — 95 fires
• 2014 — 97 fires
• 2015 — 52 fires
• 2016 — 59 fires