By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
FLINT, MI (WNEM) -
Flint Police Chief James Tolbert gave advice shortly before dark to people who felt mischievous on Devil's Night.
"Tonight is not the night," Tolbert said.
And he backed his word by having more than 120 officers patrolling the streets Wednesday night. The Flint Police Department, Michigan State Police, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputies, and even the ATF were spread out throughout Flint looking for those causing trouble.
"Blanket the city with enough law enforcement officers that we can deter any possible mischief," said Tolbert.
Officer Tanya Meekes was one of the officers patrolling Wednesday night.
"When the bad guys think that nobody's paying attention, they're going to get started," Meekes explained.
TV5 rode along with her as she showed some of the areas that gets extra attention. She said vacant houses are typically the target for arsonists and law enforcement relies on data to keep them a step ahead of the bad guys.
"You look at your hotspots. You look at statistics, and all that of that, and so forth, what's happened in the previous years, what's happened recently," Meekes said.
Another way the city tried to prevent fires from erupting was with volunteer presence. Residents worked out of five dcheck-in centers. Chris Martin was one of the guys who was an extra set of eyes.
"They need all the help they can get, and I want to keep my nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters all safe too," said Martin.
"We're on it right quick and squash it, and after a while they realize, 'Well, it may not be a good night to try to do some of this stuff we may want to do,' so they'll shut it down," said Meekes.
Police and volunteers will be out again on Thursday night, which is Halloween, to patrol the streets.
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