City of Saginaw, Michigan

The city of Saginaw's arson rate has remained substantial for many years, with statistics for the year 2006 approaching 31%. As high as 6% of all arson-related fires in Saginaw occur on Halloween Eve and Halloween night. In the past, economic troubles leading to structural abandonment have provided easy targets for arsonists. Armed with the aforementioned knowledge, the city brought together the community, law enforcement agencies, and the Saginaw Fire Department to create 'Arson Watch', a program designed to address the growing arson problem through community awareness and involvement.

Arson Watch aims to significantly reduce arson rates on Halloween Eve and night, thus reducing overall arson-related firefighter injuries and costly community damages. Arson Watch has assisted in creating community-wide arson awareness through street patrols and local events for school- aged children. These events serve to keep children off the streets while also providing opportunities to learn about the consequences of fire in an entertaining and engaging way.

In its initial year, Arson Watch attracted nearly 2,500 students for participation and 300 citizen volunteers to both patrol streets and man various events; in its second year, those numbers rose to approximately 8,000 students and 650 citizens, respectively.

Arson Watch illustrates how a community can collaborate its efforts in order to secure a more positive outcome for all. Arson Watch, paired with an atmosphere of community cooperation, hopes to continue its year-round effort to make Saginaw a safer and more positive place to live, work, and play.