It took some slashing attacks on New York City’s subways earlier this year to get the crime fighting Guardian Angels back conducting citizen safety patrols for the system’s commuters.
Prior to that, it had been over 20 years since the infamous volunteer anti-crime group patrolled the NYC subways.
An uptick in assaults earlier this year on the subway system and in Central Park has seen them return to those two public areas. In the above Vice video, Sliwa says there has been a 15 percent increase in crime from last year on the subway.
“Riders are coming up and asking us: ‘Please, you’ve got to come back in force,'” Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa told the New York Post in February.
“I think it’s become obvious that the police need help, the MTA needs help. They can’t handle it.”
Founded in 1979 by the then 25-year-old Sliwa, the Guardian Angels was a response to high levels of crime and violence on the subway and the city in general.
See this CBS New York report from February for more on why the Guardian Angels are back patrolling the subways:
The group has been back patrolling the subways since January with teams consisting of a dozen volunteers on two different shifts. If they need to, they can make “citizen’s arrests,” and then wait for police to arrive.
They will physically step in to stop a crime, but they don’t carry any weapons or have any special legal powers.
And yes, volunteers face risks in what they are doing. Sliwa has himself been shot five times during his work as a Guardian Angel.
According to the Guardian Angels’ website, the group has “hundreds of safety patrols chapters throughout the United States and worldwide.”
See how Guardian Angels are also making a comeback with their patrols in NYC’s iconic Central Park in this BBC News video: