SAGINAW, Mich. --
With Halloween just around the corner, teams of volunteers and professionals are out combing the streets in an effort to keep Devil's Night shenanigans to a minimum.
But already Saginaw firefighters have been busy by being called out to several suspicious fires overnight.
Would-be fire bugs had better think twice about stirring up trouble, because hundreds of citizens will be hitting the streets to help police in stopping potential arsonists before they strike a match.
Arson Watch’s Marcia Rabideau says she's just a citizen trying to protect her city.
For years, she has led the charge to board up vacant houses in the city in an effort to keep arsonists out. “We've decreased fires by more than 100 percent,” said Rabideau proudly.
She continued, “[We] have hundreds of citizen patrols on the streets, [with] lights on, eyes and ears open and [they’re] aware of their surroundings. We've issued cell phones so they can call 911 if there's a problem."
Citizens and police, along with WHNN radio personalities Johnny Burke and Blondie, rallied earlier Friday at Tim Horton’s on Michigan Avenue in a show of solidarity.
“We've had fewer fires over the last few years,” said Ken Boomer, with Tim Horton’s. “We'd like to think it’s because of Arson Watch and the volunteers.”
Firefighters say they will be on the lookout for trouble, and have a clear-cut message for trouble makers.
“If you're going to be out there doing anything, we're going to get you,” said the Saginaw Fire Department’s Ricardo Langoria.
“You may not see us in marked cars, but we're going to be there. This is not the place to act up,” warned Saginaw Police Chief Gerald Cliff.
Police said they will be using many unmarked patrol vehicles to catch any would-be arsonists. Citizen patrols can be easily spotted as they will have yellow flashing lights on their vehicles.
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