Despite the city's best efforts, three days of Devil's Night vandalism produced more arson fires and arrests than a year ago, Mayor Coleman Young said Friday.
There were 281 fires, up from 223 last year, Young told reporters.Devil's Night, the night before Halloween, traditionally has been a time for mischief. During the early 1980s, pranksters in Detroit switched from soaping windows and toppling trash cans to setting fires.
Young said the city had made prog-ress despite the increase in fires.
He pointed to the mobilization of 35,000 residents from 3,000 community organizations to report suspicious activity. Volunteers patrolled the city with flashlights and fire extinguishers.
"We've demonstrated our ability to keep Devil's Night - that's the last time I'm going to use those words - under control," he said. Young prefers "the Halloween period," because he said it is a more positive term.
There were 141 fires Tuesday, up from 115 the same date in 1989; 50 fires Monday, down from 60 last year; and 90 Wednesday, up from 48 last year.
Twenty-two people were charged with arson during the period this year, more than double the number of any previous Devil's Night. Nine people were arrested in 1985 and 1986.
Eighteen of the people arrested were adults, contradicting city claims that youngsters engaging in pranks were responsible.
Young said the city immediately would begin preparing for next year.
"Our goal is to finally put an end to the utterly stupid practice," he said.
The mayor said he would press City Council to restore $5.5 million for demolishing abandoned buildings that was removed from the budget. The city has razed more than 5,700 abandoned buildings in the last year.
The Michigan National Guard on Friday began demolishing 14 abandoned housed officials believed were being used by drug dealers. The demolitions are part of a statewide program.
Most of this week's fires occurred on the east side, an area with many older wood frame houses. Most burned houses were abandoned, although five or six were occupied. The fires left 29 people homeless.
A total of 326 juveniles were caught violating the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, down from 378 a year ago.
The worst Devil's Night was in 1984, when 810 blazes were set during the three night Halloween period.
Young's administration engineered a large-scale public-relations campaign to combat arson, sponsoring street patrols and urging citizens to have a better image of their city.
`I'm proud of what we did," said Clarine Wysinger, an east side resident who participated in a senior citizens' patrol. "We didn't have any fires in our neighborhood at all, but we've got to help those that did. I've lived here all my life and I love Detroit."