Detroit officials are looking forward to Angel's Night
Along with police, thousands of volunteers will be patrolling Detroit's streets in droves this weekend.
They will be armed with flashlights and bright T-Shirts. And they'll be on the lookout for arson.
Angel's Night started as a way to fight arson during the three days surrounding Halloween in Detroit. Intentionally set fires were a scourge on the city around the time of the holiday for decades.
However, progress is being made. Last year there was a record-low 52 fires reported during the three-day stretch.
Angel's Night Coordinator Raymond Solomon credits Detroit's demolition crews. Detroit has been ramping up its efforts eradicate blight since 2014. More than 10,000 properties have been torn down so far.
(See the map of blighted property demolitions in Detroit here.)
"The culture's changing, and big credit to the demolition program," Solomon said. "Ten years ago we were out combing the streets, (and) just a totally different feel. Now it's more of a team-building thing."
Solomon says there are neighborhood groups that have formed from years of volunteering for this one event. Instead of a militaristic campaign in the streets, neighbors get together "to share best practices."
Each night, according to Solomon, volunteers meet up at one of the dispatch locations scattered around the city. They get a dinner, flashlight and bright T-shirt before they hit the streets.
"Everybody does what they can" Solomon said. "Some stay two (or) three hours, some stay the whole shift."
According to Solomon, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has pressed for more involvement at the city level. Duggan himself will be patrolling each of the three nights, and that goes for all mayoral-appointee positions as well.
But while Angel's Night used to have the laser focus of trying to find and prevent fires in Detroit, cutting down on arson in recent years has let people get back to enjoying the spirit of the holiday.
Solomon says several police precincts will be open for trick-or-treating on Halloween, while the Detroit Department of transportation will be decorating and setting up "haunted busses."
"We're trying to get back to the festive part of Halloween," Solomon said.