Guardian Angels Safety Patrol

(Photo credit)

The Guardian Angels Organization

The Alliance of Guardian Angels, Inc. is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization whose purpose is to fight crime and provide positive real life role models for young people. Founded on Februrary 13, 1979 in New York City by Curtis Sliwa, with just 13 members, the Guardian Angels now number over 5,000 members in 67 American, Canadian and Mexican cities.

Curtis, along with regional coordinators, organize groups throughout the country wherever there is a call for help. Chapters are only started at the invitation of local residents, community, church or business groups and, occasionally, public officials.

Not all Guardian Angels are young people in jeans and sneakers and not all chapters are in inner city areas. Most of our people are working or going to school during the day and participate in Guardian Angels activities in the evenings and on the weekends, on the average 8 to 10 hours per week. We even have chapters on college campuses. While the minimum age for becoming a Guardian Angel is 16, there is no maximum. Our oldest member recently celebrated his 80th birthday!

What We Do

We are effective as visual deterrents to crime because we will not hesitate to make a citizen's arrest when we see a crime being committed. In our red berets and t-shirts, we have become familiar sights on mass transit system,s in shopping mall parking lots, at rock concerts, and in drug-infested public parks and streets.

In addition to our patrols, we provide other volunteer services to the community. We have escort programs for senior citizens and the handicapped so they can participate fully in activities without the fear or crime. We give self-defense demonstrations and provide speakers to various organizations and schools so that they can become better acquainted with our program and our no-weapons no-drugs philosophy. In some cities, we have Junior Guardian Angels programs and distribute food to the hungry and homeless.

Since Guardian Angels are local residents of the areas they patrol, we also participate in many special community events such as parades, festivals, and marches. At times of extreme emergencies, such as the Atlanta child murders or Mexico City earthquake, we respond with help immediately.

Dealing With the Drug Plague

Increasingly, we are being called upon by frustrated residents and small business owners to assist them in reclaiming their streets from the drug dealers. We have mounted major anti-drug and crackdown-on- crack campaigns in Los Angeles, West Palm Beach, Florida and 42nd Street/Times Square in New York.

Our war against drugs is not limited to the streets. Throughout the country, in small rural towns and large cities, we send speakers to elementary, junior high, and high schools to talk realistically with students about drugs.

Becoming a Guardian Angel

To become a Guardian Angel, you must be at least 16 years of age, have no serious criminal record, and be working or going to school. If you are not working and are out of school, you must be able to demonstrate how you support yourself. After being screened, you must complete a 3-month training program that usually requires 10 hours per week. You do not need to be Bruce Lee or his sister in order to qualify. We look more for the proper attitude of dedication than big biceps.

After physical training in self-defense, first aid/CPR, the penal code, making a citizen's arrest, and patrol techniques, members are required to contribute a minimum of 2 patrols each week (approximately 8 hours). Since Guardian Angels do not carry weapons, each member is searched before going on patrol for drugs, drug paraphernalia, and weapons. Possession of any of these items means immediate dismissal.

Financial Support

The Alliance of Guardian Angels, Inc. is a tax-exempt non-profit organization. We do not receive funds from the government or big corporations or foundations. We depend upon individuals who make tax-deductible contributions to help us cover our operating expenses and in kind donations of headquarters space, training facilities and printing. No one in our group is paid a salary so every dollar you give goes directly towards getting Guardian Angels out where they belong -- on your streets!

We Dare to Care

Since our beginning, we have helped many thousands of people. Our unarmed patrols have made over 800 citizens' arrests and our very presence has deterred countless others. We have demonstrated that people of all races and ethnic groups can work together to improve our communities for everyone. Our diverse membership, in which women play the same role as men, continues to be living proof of our motto: WE DARE TO CARE! Won't you?

For More Information

To join or start a chapter: Due to the volume of calls we receive, you can get a fast response from us by sending us a note with your name, address, telephone number, the best time to reach you, and the closest large city near to you. If possible, enclose a self-addressed, stamped-envelope. Contact:
       Mr. Curtis Sliwa
       Guardian Angels
       982 East 89th Street
       Brooklyn, NY 11236
       (718) 649-2607