Divine intervention: Guardian Angels returning to Brooklyn

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Heaven help us!

Civilian anti-crime group the Guardian Angels will patrol Brooklyn after a decade-long absence, in response to a spate of transit slashings — the most recent of which went down on a 3 train in Brownsville. Mayor DeBlasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton claim crime is at an all-time low, but the group’s leader says that is not the case — and he is not worried about ruffling officials’ feathers if it makes the city safer.

“I don’t think the police commissioner — who’s had a good relationship with us in the past — or DeBlasio are pleased with this,” said Curtis Sliwa, who founded the Guardian Angels when the city was wracked with crime in 1979. “They’re big on saying the city is the safest it’s ever been since Peter Stuyvesant was here since the Dutch colonized New York. But that’s not the case in the subways.”

Bratton tried to downplay the Angels’ resurgence as an indictment on his policing strategies during a recent radio appearance on 970 The Answer.

“It’s nothing new,” Bratton said of the Angels’ return. “There’s about 10 of them left, I guess, in the organization. So, I don’t see it as a big, sensational story. They’ve been doing it off and on over the years. Their role is to see something, say something. They’re not expected to engage in anything — they don’t have any powers.”

But Sliwa refuted the notion the Angels are glorified 911-callers.

“We’ve never been just eyes and ears, that’s a waste of time,” Sliwa said. “If there’s an actual crime in progress, we’ll exercise our right to make a citizens arrest.”

The group is mobilizing after reports of eight subway slashings citywide — including two in Brooklyn — in the last month, but they’ll be on the lookout for anything fishy, he said.

“There’s pervs,” Sliwa said. “Sex assaults are up — and strong-arm robberies — so there’s a number of key crimes that are up in the subway that have nothing to do with the slashings.”

The vigilant civilians, known for their signature red berets and jackets, will deploy in groups of four from the Broadway Junction subway station in East New York starting Feb. 8 — they’ll board J, A, and L trains, bringing their campaign of justice into Canarsie, Williamsburg, Bushwick, Downtown, Brownsville, and Beford-Stuyvesant, according to Sliwa.

Angels spend three months learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, first aid, law related to crime-fighting, and martial arts before heading out on the beat, Sliwa said.

The police department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Sean F from Bensonhurst says:
In 2001, outside Madison Square Garden, I was chaperoning a trip for my son's pre-school. We had close to 40 kids, but only about 4 chaperones had shown up. Each chaperone was trying to herd their group toward the place where the buses would meet us. A guy tried to separate two of the children from their line. I ran toward him, but before I could get there, a man in a red beret got there first. He never touched the guy, but yelled for cops, and ran the guy toward the police. The guy evaded and got away, but our kid was safe. I thanked the man in the red beret, and he said, "Just doing what we do", smiled and walked away. It was Curtis Sliwa.

I, and anyone from my son's former school, will tell you that any return of the Guardian Angels to our subways is a good thing.
Feb. 4, 2016, 9:48 am
Emilie from Bushwick, Manhattan,Bronx,Queens says:
Hi My name is Emilie now I live in Florida, but my family and friends live in Bklyn,Queens,and Manhattan,Bronx I grew up in Brooklyn in 2005 I moved to Florida but I remember when I used to ride the J,L,A,#4,5,6 trains when I was in H.S. in 1980-1982 the Guardian Angels rode the trains I really felt safe because sometimes you would see things that were crazy on the trains. Thanks Guardian Angels for doing what you are doing to help and keep New Yorker`s safe and risking your life for us and our love ones. God Bless and be safe
Feb. 4, 2016, 10:28 am
Joyce David from PLG says:
Contrary to Bill Bratton's assertion that The Guardian Angels do not have any powers, they actually have the power to make a "Citizen's Arrest" and hold the suspect for the police. Many years ago I was in a documentary about the Guardian Angels discussing this exact issue. Curtis Sliwa is aware of the criteria for making a "Citizen's Arrest". Good luck Guardian Angels.
Feb. 4, 2016, 2:50 pm
John from Sunset Park says:
I use to believe in these guys until I learned they staged crimes to resolve them. And there was some weird incident when a perv was amongst them and they delayed bringing him in to the authorities.
Feb. 4, 2016, 7:15 pm
Henry from Park Slope says:
@Sean F from Bensonhurst: how do you know it wasn't a setup? GA is known to stage crimes to get good press. The fact that the guy got away makes me think this was a setup.
Feb. 7, 2016, 12:16 pm
Sean F from Bensonhurst says:

I don't know for a fact that it wasn't a set-up, but the guy didn't get away easy, and the cops did also take off after him as he fled. Unless the cops were also in on it, I feel certain that he was a legitimate threat.

Feb. 18, 2016, 10:11 am

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