The Guardian Angels will return to patrolling New York City’s subways day and night for the first time in 22 years because of several recent slasher-attacks.
The founder of the group, Curtis Sliwa, told CBS New York, “We’ve decided to not only be out during the day, which we haven’t been, but also ramp up our efforts at night to try to stop these slashings.”
The Guardian Angels, founded in 1979, typically wear red jackets and red berets, but do not carry weapons. Instead, they report crimes in progress.
Six slashings have occurred in the subway since January 1. NYPD chief William Bratton said, “I’m quite comfortable that this increase in slashings that we saw on the subway and in fact a small increase in the city overall, is an aberration. We’ll deal with it, and as we go forward in the year those numbers will decline.”
On Sunday, a couple was arguing at the Central Park North station; when the woman asked a stranger for help, he slashed the man with whom she was arguing.
On January 4, New York City officials announced a 1.5 percent drop in total crime–such as burglary and car-theft–during 2015. But murders rose from 333 in 2014 to 350 in 2015.
Currently, there are more than 130 Guardian Angels safety patrol chapters around the world. When Sliwa formed the group, he was a night manager at Fordham Road McDonald’s. He convinced twelve volunteers to ride the subways unarmed between the toughest stops, looking for gang members who had been mugging the subway riders and holding them for police.