Despite fewer arsons, Flint taking no chances by beefing up staffing for Angel's Night

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FLINT (WJRT) (10/30/2017) - The number of arsons on Angel's Night in Flint is on the decline, but city officials are taking no chances this evening by beefing up staffing.

Flint Police Department

Dozens of volunteers hit the streets around dusk looking out for arson fires. Neighboring fire departments also are lending staff to the city should a rash of fires break out.

Flint Police Department Lt. Mark Boudreau said very few arsons were reported on Angel's Night in 2015 and 2016.

"Last year I think there was four at the most and they were dumpster fires. The year before that, I think there were two total arsons altogether," he said.

Boudreau leads the Citizens Radio Patrol program for Angel's Night.

"They'll be out on their own in their own cars. We give them a couple tools: Some of our old police radios, they'll have placards on the side of their cars saying Citizens Radio Patrol and they'll also have a beacon on top of their car," he said.

Boudreau credits the volunteer patrols for helping cut down on intentionally set fires around Halloween.

"Last year there were around 50 to 60 volunteers. The year before that, it was our highest at 100," he said. "That extra 100 people out on the road -- people, they're noticeable, they're visible -- it definitely deters people from wanting to do what they consider pranks."

In addition to the volunteers, the Flint Police Department is adding extra patrol officers on the evening shifts Monday and Tuesday. The Flint Fire Department also will have extra manpower on standby.

"Different departments come in from the county, so every station will have two fire trucks and a squad running out of the stations," Fire Chief Ray Barton said.

The city is not anticipating any significant arson activity.

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