Detroit to recruit Angels’ Night volunteers

James David Dickson
The Detroit News

With Halloween just a few weeks away, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and other city leaders will kick off a recruiting effort for Angels’ Night volunteers on Monday.

The recruiting push will begin at a press conference at the Heilmann Recreation Center on the 19600 block of Crusade, north of East Seven Mile.

Duggan, police Chief James Craig, Fire Commissioner Eric Jones, managers from the city’s Department of Neighborhoods and others will participate and “lay out the city’s strategy to mobilize volunteers and to keep our neighborhoods safe for children and families,” according to a statement issued by the city on Sunday.

This year, Angels’ Night efforts will run from Oct. 29-31.

Angels’ Night is the city’s response to Devil’s Night, when the city saw a pre-Halloween uptick in arsons in Detroit. A book by Ze’ev Chafets and an album by Eminem’s group D12 carry the name, which had become a part of pop culture surrounding Detroit.

During Angels’ Night, civic-minded volunteers patrol the city, keeping an eye out for suspicious activities and notifying authorities when fires are set.

Last year, the city only had 52 fires set during the three-day period; 23 of them, less than half, were considered suspicious. That was a record low since the start of the 1980s and prompted Duggan to declare the success “a total community effort.”

“I remember when this used to be called Devil’s Night — it truly was Devil's Night,” said City Council President Brenda Jones. “Now, it's truly Angels’ Night.”

In 1984, some 801 fires were set; in 2014, there were 97 fires.