Controversial crimefighters training recruits
With at least seven recruits in training, the controversial Guardian Angels crime-watch group soon will be up and running in the city after a graduation on Sept. 9.
Chapter leader Dave Schroeder expects their night watch troop to begin walking patrols along 118 Avenue in four-hour shifts during weekends. Members will wear red berets, red jackets and Guardian Angels white T-shirts.
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“When we are out patrolling, we will be a visual deterrent to crime,” Schroeder told Metro yesterday.
Critics of the program say they practise a form of vigilante justice, but Schroeder says that’s not the case.
“This idea that people have about us being vigilantes is totally unfounded,” said Schroeder, a local realtor.
“When we start, people will see what we are doing, and whatever preconceptions that others will have about us, that will change.”
In May, a handful of Edmonton residents heard Curtis Sliwa, who founded the Guardian Angels in New York, played down the vigilante talk along with some members of the Calgary chapter during a dry-run of a typical patrol in the city’s north end.
Schroeder says people’s overall impressions have changed since that meeting, but there will always be critics of the Guardian Angels.
“I get e-mails from people who are living in different parts of the city describing what their lives as they are surrounded by crime,” he said. “It’s wrong. People in this city should not feel that way.”
Some training still on the horizon