For the first time in more than 20 years, the subway-patrolling Guardian Angels will have a regular presence on the city’s mass transit system — and commuters say the more eyes the better.
Due to the recent trend of subway slashings on New York’s subway, Guardian Angel founder Curtis Sliwa says his group will once again have a 24-hour presence to help reassure passengers, the New York Post reported.
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The group, which was founded back in 1979, is a volunteer-based organization with chapters throughout the country and world. Along with the subway presence, the Guardian Angels also conduct neighborhood watches, cleanups and offer safety education programs at schools.
“Riders are coming up and asking us: ‘Please, you’ve got to come back in force,’” Sliwa told the Post. “I think it’s become obvious that the police need help, the MTA needs help. They can’t handle it.”
This will be the first time since 1994 that the Guardian Angels have had regular ’round-the-clock patrols on the subway, CBS reported in a related article, also stating that six subway slashings in less than a month have passengers concerned.
“New Yorkers have a right to be alarmed or concerned, particularly those riding the subways,” the Post quoted Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who also pointed to crowded trains and mental illness as possible causes for the recent rash of subway violence.
For commuters, the presence of the Guardian Angels is expected to help keep an eye out for any trouble that could be lurking on the subway cars or station plaforms.
"Any extra help to stop those creeps is great," said 38-year-old Michael Desorio from Brookyln. "More eyes means less chances to do something stupid."
Straphanger Kellie Delange, 19, had not heard of the group before but believes their help will allow commuters to feel safe as they are traveling to and from home.
"[The attacks] might be random but it's still scary," she said. "We need that help to feel safe."
Other straphangers said they think the MTA and police have already been doing a good job in keeping everyone safe but agreed the extra help would only make things better.
"It just takes paying more attention and being careful," said 65-year-old Isabel Urena.