The New York City-based nonprofit volunteer organization of unarmed crime-prevention revealed its intent in October to make PB its first neighborhood stop.
Still in the process of forming, new PB Guardian Angel’s chapter leader Ryan Luke noted the chapter conducted its first “mission.”
“Our Sacramento chapter came down and took us on a preliminary patrol,” said Luke, adding it takes time to recruit volunteers who are trained in self-defense, basic martial arts, CPR, law, communication and conflict resolution. Guardian patrols protect the most vulnerable residents while responding to criminality within the law, all without weapons.
“We’re non-confrontational, non-hands-on,” said Luke. “Basically, if we see something, we call the police to try and handle it. We’re out there trying to make the neighborhood and streets safe. Just our presence alone serves as a deterrence.”
Another PB Guardian Angel volunteer, Sarah Bonesteel, agreed their inaugural patrol went well.
“It was neat to see the way the town accepted us,” she said. “They stopped and talked with us. People were asking, ‘When can we come over their way and do some recruiting?’”
Bonesteel noted the new PB chapter even has plans to create a “junior” group.
“We’ve got a youth program for ages 5 and up in the works that just got approved,” said Bonesteel. “It won’t necessarily be a patrol, but something more like the Boy and Girl Scouts. The idea is to take it to the next level.”
Originally formed by Curtis Sliwa and 12 dedicated volunteers in New York City in 1979, 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.
On its Facebook page, the Pacific Beach Guardian Angels state their mission: “... is to provide positive role models for today’s youth and work toward promoting community safety and betterment for the good of society overall. We accomplish our mission through training volunteers, who are multi-racial, to be effective as visual deterrents patrolling the streets in communities. Our emphasis is on coordinating a variety of community-based services, programs and activities to speak and fight against violence, crime, and drugs.”
The PB Angels website adds that the group “provides people with the tools, support, and opportunities to face their unique challenges. We are unlike any other organization in the breadth and depth of empowering skills we develop.”
Luke said their group’s formation is a reaction by PB residents “who are tired of the rise in crime the last few years.”
Noting the police “have given us a very warm welcome,” Luke pointed out PB Guardian Angels volunteers will be expected to work a minimum of four hours weekly. He said they typically patrol in small groups to be safe and support one another. Bonesteel added the three-month training period for angels is followed by a probationary period.
“We’ll be doing some self-defense classes in the community in the near future,” she said.