DETROIT, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Detroit officials have begun their annual drive for volunteers to patrol the city on Halloween and the two days leading up to it.
At a kickoff event at the Belair Centre shopping plaza, Mayor Dave Bing said he hopes to get more volunteers for the Angels' Night patrols than the 30,000 who joined up last year, the Detroit Free Press reported. The shopping center is near an area hit by weather-related fires Sept. 7 that resembled the arson blitz that used to hit the city before Halloween.
Bing said in 2009 there were 9 percent fewer fires than in 2008. But he said the volunteer patrols must keep working.
"It's not going to stop this year or the next year," he said.
The city also enforces a curfew and requires gas stations to keep records of everyone buying gasoline in a container.
Petty vandalism on Devil's Night or Mischief Night, the night before Halloween, has been a tradition in much of the United States. In Detroit in the 1970s, the night took a more violent turn with hundreds of arson fires every year.
The city began the Angels' Night campaign in 1991, and the number of arsons has dropped sharply.