Drones give Angels' Night volunteers eyes in the sky - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Drones give Angels' Night volunteers eyes in the sky

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By Taryn Asher
Fox 2 News Reporter


DETROIT -- It's a new angle on Angels' Night with eyes in the sky.  Harry Arnold organized a citizen patrol team that will be running surveillance on Detroit neighborhoods with their own radio controlled camera ships, an operation that had to be approved by Homeland Security.

"I didn't want to sit around and be mad at Dave Bing or Fire Chief Austin for my neighborhood burning if I can get up and do something about it as a citizen," Arnold said.

Patrols from the air and on the ground are running Monday night through Halloween.  Volunteers were checking in at Detroit's Butzel Family Recreation Center Monday one after another, getting a flashlight and a t-shirt before they headed out on the streets.

Some walk, some drive, and others patrol by bike like the Fly Riders.

"We're just going to go up and down, make sure everybody's safe, and anything we see, we'll call back and get some help," said Fly Rider Gwen Johnson.

"Keep our neighborhoods safe, keep our children safe, and to make sure the City of Detroit (gets) a better look that what it's already portraying," said Trice Morgan, who is also patrolling by bike.

That's what John George, creator of Motor City Blight Busters, who coined the phrase Angels' Night, has been working to do for the last few decades.  With his thousands of volunteers and their yellow blinking lights, he's tried to better Detroit's image and keep the number of arsons down.

"We were able last year with Mayor Bing and others to keep those numbers below the three day average, so we're hoping that we can continue that tradition.  It's always good when it's wet on Angels' Night, and it looks like with the storm that's coming in, everything will be wet," George remarked.

George says everyone should still turn on their porch lights, keep their eyes and ears open and report anything out of the ordinary.

Whether its high flying surveillance drones or extra foot patrols, every little bit helps.

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