Detroit’s a city facing a lot of challenges, but Angels’ Night is one of its great success stories. Created in 1995 in the aftermath of a series of devastating fires in the city during the Halloween season, which garnered the moniker “Devils’ Night,” Angels’ Night combats what had been a local problem since as far back as the 1940s.
Since it was launched Angels’ Night has become the “largest anti-arson effort in the country,” says Deputy Detroit Mayor Kirk Lewis. Last year more than 50,000 volunteers patrolled Detroit’s streets and were able to help reduce fires by 55% compared to the same time last year. Volunteers interested in making Detroit a safer and more secure place will hit the streets again October 29-31.
Supported by sponsors such as White Castle and Comerica Bank they will blanket the streets, watch for mischief and in many cases have a yellow light on their car. White Castle will give a pair of free burgers and a drink to everyone wearing a volunteer cap or shirt and they can come back as often as they’d like during the three-day period. Comerica Bank has donated $94,000 since Angels’ Night was created.
“It takes all of us pulling together to get the kind of results we did last year,” said Lewis.
The success of Angels’ Night will be bolstered by a 6:00 pm to 6:00 am curfew for everyone under age 17 on the three days of Angels’ Night as well as a ban on the sale of gas in portable containers. An addition to the curfew this year is that children 17 and under need to have parental or legal guardian supervision on those nights, not just adult supervision.
There are various ways to volunteer with Angels’ Night. You can go out and patrol a neighborhood. This involves being assigned an area to drive around and look out for trouble. Another way is to adopt an abandoned house and keep watch over the place from 6:00 pm to midnight. A third and easy way is to remember to keep your porch light on from dusk until dawn from October 29-31.
Why does Detroit have more fire issues than other cities? The clue might be that we don’t have as many multi-family and apartment buildings as other cities such as Chicago.
“Detroit is a very unique city in the United States of America. This city was built with a single family home ownership model, so there’s a lot of single family homes, and we started losing population as far back as 1951 and they started leaving vacant structures, which turned out many to be single family homes. So that’s what makes Detroit unique for a city of its size compared to other cities in America,” said Detroit Fire Department Commissioner Don Austin.
There are other ways as well to get involved, as well. To learn more, or register yourself, call 313-224-3450 and make sure to check out their website, http://www.angelsnight.org.