The New York City-based nonprofit international volunteer organization of unarmed crime-prevention has operated since 1979. The group was given the go-ahead to form a new chapter in PB, said Guardian Angels spokesperson Ryan Lu.
“We are starting a chapter here in Pacific Beach to combat crime, which will hopefully spread across to Ocean Beach and Mission Beach, as well as the rest of San Diego,” said Lu on behalf of the angels, known for their national and worldwide safety patrols.
Local Guardian Angels spokesperson and administrator Sarah Bonesteel talked about why PB was selected to become the latest group chapter.
“We’ve had a spike in crime in PB the last two or three years, and we’ve lost control of our parks, beach areas and library, all of which have become very unsafe places,” said PB resident Bonesteel, who noted the new Guardian Angels chapter being formed “will be there to assist police, reach out to them and work with them.”
Bonesteel said recruitment for new Guardian Angels members will begin soon.
“We’ll be setting up tables at different locations in PB twice a week,” she said, noting those locations will be posted on the group’s existing Facebook page. “People have to apply in person, and they have to undergo a thorough background check. We don’t want any sex or violent offenders.” She added GA members are expected to contribute four hours of service per week.
“We’ll be starting a youth program eventually,” added Bonesteel.
Originally formed by Curtis Sliwa and 12 dedicated volunteers in New York City, the first “Magnificent 13” Guardian Angels rode subways. In the 40 years since thousands of people have joined the group creating chapters in over 130 cities in 13 countries to protect their communities and substantially improve the quality of life.
According to guardianangles.org, group members are role models in their communities and lead by example. The main activity Guardian Angels do is safety patrol, in which members walk the streets or ride transit.
People must be at least 16 years old to join the angels' safety patrol program. Members are paired up and follow the directions of a patrol leader.
Volunteers are trained in self-defense, basic martial arts, CPR, law, communication and conflict resolution. They protect the most vulnerable residents and respond to criminality within the law, all without the aid of weapons.
The new Guardian Angels group forming was scheduled to address the community on its formation and intentions at Pacific Beach Town Council's monthly meeting on Oct. 16.