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Guardian Angels

Guardian Angels
Founded 1979
Founder Curtis Sliwa
Focus Public Safety
Area served

The Guardian Angels is a New York City by Curtis Sliwa and has more than 130 chapters around the world.[1]

Sliwa originally created the organization to combat widespread violence and crime on the citizen’s arrests for violent crimes. The organization patrols the streets and neighborhoods but also provides education programs and workshops for schools and businesses.


  • History 1
  • Rules and activities 2
    • CyberAngels 2.1
  • Training 3
  • Chapters 4
    • Los Angeles Chapter 4.1
    • Sacramento Chapter 4.2
    • Other chapters 4.3
  • Outside the United States 5
    • Japan 5.1
    • Israel 5.2
    • United Kingdom 5.3
    • South Africa 5.4
    • Canada 5.5
    • New Zealand 5.6
    • The Philippines 5.7
    • Mexico 5.8
    • Australia 5.9
    • Italy 5.10
  • In popular culture 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


In the beginning,

In an episode of the 1982-1983 game show Child's Play, a boy given the task of describing the term "Guardian angel" actually described members of this organization.

See also


  1. ^ "About the Angels". Retrieved January 30, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Guardian Angel's Growing Pains". Time. January 18, 1982. 
  3. ^ Gonzalez, David (November 25, 1992). Sliwa Admits Faking Crimes For Publicity. New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  4. ^ Gonzalez, David (November 29, 1992). "Guardian Angels Training Inadequite, Critics Say". The New York Times. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ "05/17/2008: Volunteers Warning Residents About Serial Stabber — CBS13 TV, 03/26/2007: Curtis Sliwa Launches Bicycle Patrol — Sacramento Bee Newspaper, 10/21/2005: Anti-crime walk for Del Paso Boulevard — Sacramento Bee Newspaper, 10/20/2005: Red Angel dragnet — SN&R News Review Magazine". 
  7. ^ Smalley, Suzanne (March 31, 2007). "Guardian Angels launch city patrol, expand across US".  
  8. ^ Japan Today article about the Angels
  9. ^ Angels running an anonymous tip line in Japan
  10. ^ Fallen Angels
  11. ^ Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
  12. ^ Guardian Angels South Africa | Dare to Care
  13. ^ Guardian Angels - South Africa
  14. ^ Guardian Angels Potchefstroom
  15. ^ Guardian Angels Chapter List
  16. ^ 'Guardian Angels get bumpy ride in Toronto', CBC News, January 14, 2006
  17. ^ "Angels test their wings".  
  18. ^ "Guardian Angels visiting Halifax".  
  19. ^ Nova Scotia News -
  20. ^ Schapiro, Rich (December 5, 2007). "Former wrestler 'Vampiro' to take bite out of Mexico City crime". Daily News (New York). 
  21. ^ Gray, Marcus (2005) [1995]. The Clash: Return of the Last Gang in Town (5th revised ed.). London: Helter Skelter. p. 380.  
  22. ^ Monday, Jan. 18, 1982 (1982-01-18). "Guardian Angels' Growing Pains"Time Magazine article 18 January 1982 . Retrieved 2010-04-03. 
  23. ^ Network website
  24. ^ Angels in Action website
  25. ^ "Old music: Golden Flamingo Orchestra feat. Margo Williams – The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us" by Lindesay Irvine, post to The Guardian (UK) music blog, September 7, 2012, retrieved February 25, 2014

External links

  • Official website (Guardian Angels)
  • Official website (CyberAngels)
  • Guardian Angels Japanese chapters
  • Guardian Angels NZ website
  • Guardian Angels Los Angeles website
  • Wisconsin Alliance of Guardian Angels
In season 7, episode 13 of

In season 2, episode 10 of In Living Color, Jim Carrey plays a pathetic character who calls himself a Cherub of Justice, a reference to the Guardian Angels.

In the season 3 episode of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, "Bums: Making a Mess All Over the City", Mac and Dee become vigilantes to fight against the homeless who masturbate in the streets, adopting a uniform with a red beret inspired by the Guardian Angels.

"The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us", a tribute to the Guardian Angels, is a soul-funk-disco song recorded in New York in 1979 by the Golden Flamingo Orchestra featuring Margo Williams.[25]

The Guardian Angels are featured in a Network ( [23] reality TV series called Angels in Action. In the first episode, Curtis Sliwa opens the series, and it follows the Philadelphia Guardian Angels spread information about a neighborhood rapist and make a drug bust. Later on, it follows the Guardian Angels in Atlantic City as they investigate a massage parlor they believe is a front for illegal prostitution, and actually find a way to get inside.[24]

Professional wrestler Ray Traylor wrestled under the moniker "The Guardian Angel" in WCW from 1993 to 1995 after his character "The Boss" was deemed too similar to his WWF character "The Big Bossman". Traylor wore the trademark red jacket and beret of the organization, as well as their T-shirts when competing. Traylor, a former corrections officer, actually went through Guardian Angel training and was inducted into the Angels as part of the gimmick.

In season 3 of 21 Jump Street, a group of young vigilantes called the "Street Rangers", try to clean the streets of crime in a tough neighborhood. In that episode, their goal is to bring down an untouchable drug dealer, without knowing about the young undercover cops trying to convict him first. The logo on the uniforms that the Rangers wear is inspired by the Guardian Angels' - instead of wearing red, they wear black.

"Footsteps", a short comics story written by British writer Alan Moore and drawn by Joe Orlando for Secret Origins #10, uses a schism in the Guardian Angels (identified in the story as "Subway Angels") as a modern-day metaphor for the War in Heaven. One of the story's protagonists is a young Angel reluctant to side with either the Angels' leadership or the subway "survivalists" looking to subvert the leadership, and is as a result spurned and beaten by both groups. He is subsequently comforted by the Phantom Stranger, whom Moore identifies as a literal angel that neglected to take sides during the "real" War in Heaven.

The 1982 song "Red Angel Dragnet" by The Clash was inspired by the murder of Frank Melvin,[21][22] and praises the Guardian Angels for their work.

The 1982 Tom Skerrit movie Fighting Back shows newsreel footage of them on one of their patrols.

The 1981 CBS made-for-TV movie We're Fighting Back, featuring Bronx-born Ellen Barkin, was based on the Guardian Angels.

In popular culture

Seven chapters are currently present in Italy, from east to west and north to south: Milan, Brescia, Padova, Bologna, Sassari, Olbia and Cagliari. Operations will be starting soon in Udine and Avezzano. The Italian Guardian Angels share the common trait of the organization in serving their communities, but a great deal of their work is focussed on helping the homeless and elders in need, in providing first aid to people in distress. Future developments involve youth programs.


A chapter was formed in Canberra, the capital city of Australia, in 2008, but has yet to begin patrolling. Some school and internet-safety programs have been conducted.

A Guardian Angels chapter actively patrolled in Sydney in the early nineties, but disbanded after a short time.


In 2007, a chapter formed in Mexico City led by the Canadian professional wrestler Vampiro.[20]


Cybertanod, Role Model Cop, and the Barangay PeaceKeeping Action Team (BPAT) program of The Philippine National Police are some of the contributions of The Guardian Angels Philippines Chapter in Police organization. Joint police programs of the Guardian Angels resulted in national awards for officers and local police stations where the Guardian Angels works. The chapter covered Southern Mindanao and recently expanded into Northern Luzon. Today, the Philippines Chapter aims to spread the program in the South East Asia region and is currently developing an independent Citizen Police Organization concept for the region. The local chapter presently gathers support to host the 1st Joint Police and Guardian Angels Annual International Citizen Safety Patrol as its beyond border initiatives on Guardian Angels violence prevention — Global Public Safety awareness campaign. The effort in South East Asia is under the watch of Mike Zarate as National Director for Philippines.

The Philippines

Within New Zealand, The International Alliance of Guardian Angels is recognized and registered as a Charitable Trust for tax purposes. Their headquarters is the Henderson Returned Services Association Inc. offices on Railside Avenue, Henderson, NZ.

Members of the Wellington Chapter held their inaugural training and orientation Patrol on October 6, 2006 in the Auckland CBD.

On August 30, 2007 Curtis Sliwa graduated the Auckland CBD Chapter, led by Anna "Kimodo" Cruse. This Chapter's first official Patrol was on the following evening.

New Zealand's inaugural Guardian Angels Patrol was held on January 13, 2006. Since then, Guardian Angels have also been active in South Auckland; however the activities of that Chapter have been temporarily halted for logistical purposes.

In January 2006, the Guardian Angels opened its New Zealand Headquarters in Henderson, a suburb of Waitakere City west of Auckland, New Zealand's fifth-largest and largest cities respectively (to be amalgamated with others into a "super-city" in 2010). The NZ National Director is Andy "Chieftain" Cawston.

New Zealand

A Halifax chapter is in operation as of May 2008. Recent outbreaks of violent crime in Halifax had prompted citizens to contact the Guardian Angels, urging them to start a chapter.[18][19]

A Calgary chapter was set up, with the first group finishing its training in March 2007.[17]

An attempt to organize a chapter in Ottawa failed after the police and city refused to cooperate plus a negative reaction and lack of interest from the majority of its population.

A Vancouver chapter was in operation as of November 2006. There was a chapter there in the early 1980s. Some of the alumni from that group are assisting with the new chapter.

A Toronto, Ontario chapter was originally formed in 1982 and ran until 1984. A smaller chapter ran briefly in the Parkdale area of Toronto in 1992–1993 but disbanded. The 2005 "Boxing Day shooting" resulted in the death of teenager Jane Creba on a busy downtown street, and provoked renewed attention to law-and-order issues in Canada, and Curtis Sliwa stated that he had been contacted by many Torontonians interested in having a local chapter. On July 13, 2006, a new chapter of the Guardian Angels Canada formed in Toronto. However, both mayor David Miller and police chief Bill Blair stated they were not interested in trying what had not worked twice before.[16] When Sliwa arrived with three other Angels, Miller declined to meet with them, stating that police work was best left to the police. Despite the opposition of the Mayor, community groups, and the police chief, the Toronto Chapter moved ahead. 2006 mayoral candidate Jane Pitfield expressed her support for the Guardian Angels as did former television anchor Peter Kent and former professional boxer (and now radio talk show host) Spider Jones. Toronto's first group of Guardian Angels hit the streets Thursday, July 13 for their inaugural patrol in the city's downtown core. The group's official launch in Toronto came just two days after members were forced to move their graduation ceremony from a seniors residence on Dundas Street.

In Calgary, Alberta, on March 24, 2007, a group of Guardian Angel trainees did one last training patrol, the day before their expected graduation day. They toured the East side of the downtown.


The Guardian Angels South African Chapter was started by Carl Viljoen in 2004 in Cape Town.[12][13] Other chapters are in Kuilsriver, Cape Town, Western Cape and Potchefstroom, North West Province.[14][15]

South Africa

The Manchester Chapter was established around 1991 and ceased operating in '96. The Chapter was run by Ian 'Mach One' McMahon and then Amanda 'Lynx' Quinn who dealt with the actual closure of the chapter and its final patrols.

Their presence in London was controversial in the first decade of existence, with press articles accusing the group of vigilantism or attempting to avoid paying for travel on the London Underground whilst wearing their colours. In 1989, discussion in Parliament raised the possibility of American members of the Guardian Angels being declared persona non grata owing to their presence being "not conducive to the public good", but this was rejected.[11]

In London the Guardian Angels have been active since 1989; by 2007 their numbers had dwindled to a group of around 12. In the United Kingdom, the law requires that people use only "reasonable force" as appropriate to the situation, which leads Guardian Angel training to centre on using the minimum possible force, and to only use force to prevent a dangerous situation from escalating. All violent crimes are reported to the police, and intervention leading to citizens' arrests (legal in Britain) or use of force is only employed in extreme cases.[10]

United Kingdom

A chapter of the Guardian Angels was established in the State of Israel. The Guardian Angels Israel is led by Jill Shames a social activist and martial artist who had migrated there. Guardian Angels Israel has completed a few Safety Patrols but primarily works with at risk youth in the Jewish Ethiopian (Falasha) immigrant population.


Four members of the Japanese Guardian Angels appear in an episode of Insomniac with Dave Attell filmed in Tokyo. Dave interviews them before their attention is diverted to an (apparently) drunk and disorderly individual.

A local organization of the Guardian Angels was formed in non-profit status.[8][9]


Outside the United States

In 2007, they started recruiting in Kansas City, Missouri, and a chapter was started with five Guardian Angels in October 2008. In 2010, they started recruiting in Portland, Oregon. After being told by the National Training Director that they had to make 3 arrests per month, the chapter asked about this new directive and at that time was told they never even had a chapter, despite reports to the contrary; the Kansas City chapter soon disbanded and now patrol their city on their own from vehicles seeking persons of interest and criminal activity.

The Tampa Bay region of Florida has always been an active area within the group's history. There have been 2 chapters serving the Tampa Bay area since the group was originally founded. In 1984 the first Tampa chapter was established but lasted until 1992. A second chapter was established in 1999. The Guardian Angels have been active in Orlando, Florida due to the increase in murder and crime rates.[7] A group in Boston was also formed in 2007; at first, Mayor Tom Menino opposed them, but when the public welcomed the group, he eventually supported it. Residents of nearby Brockton, Massachusetts launched a chapter in March 2008 in response to a rise in street violence, and they were quickly able to build a working relationship with the city's police chief.

Other chapters

The Guardian Angels were mostly greeted favorably in the city, and sought out by the media to comment on crime and local issues. Press conferences were held during the tense time before Eric Royce Leonard, dubbed the "Thrill Killer", was arrested in 1991; and during the controversial Sacramento debut of Colors about the Bloods and Crips. Because of the stance of the Guardian Angels in response to Leonard's murders of three Round Table Pizza employees, the Old Sacramento restaurant offered free dinner for one patrol every Saturday and Sunday night. [6]

On occasion, the Sacramento Chapter patrols used cars to reach areas that were too far to walk, and several times the Sacramento Chapter was called into service in other cities, helping launch the chapter in Stockton CA. Both helped with special events in San Francisco, such as the Halloween-time Erotic Exotic Ball. They traveled as far away as Los Angeles, where with the local chapter they officially assisted the police with crowd control during the Rose Bowl Parade.

The Sacramento chapter went freely throughout the entire city and surrounding areas, ranging from North Highlands to the then (1980s) gang-infested Oak Park neighborhood, then further south into the Meadowview and Pocket Areas. Walking sometimes 10 miles during the course of a four-hour patrol, Angels even crossed the Sacramento River into neighboring Yolo County to patrol what were then the communities of Bend and Brite, now incorporated into West Sacramento. The Oak Park patrols went through what was Crips territory, a gang originating in Los Angeles. The Crips were identified by blue rags hanging from their pockets; their rival gang, the Bloods, did the same thing but used red rags. Since the uniform of the Guardian Angels is a red and white T-shirt, the Crips at the time considered them enemies while the Bloods saw them as weak fakes of their own gang.

Patrols ranged from 20 to as few as two Angels, though a minimum of three people was the standard. Members were assigned positions and specific locations in a patrol: the Patrol Leader was at the front; Communications was beside or behind; and Runners came next and would usually be the majority of the patrol, along with the second, who was in charge of keeping the patrol organized at the rear. Angels unable to go on patrols typically monitored the CB radio at the headquarters. Thus, a chapter could enlist volunteers who were legally considered handicapped. When a situation required immediate physical action on a patrol, the Patrol Leader would send the Runners under the direction of the second and either send the Communications person (with another Angel) to find a phone and call police, or to radio the situation to Chapter Headquarters to call a P.O.P. officer. When on bicycles, the second and a Runner would leave bikes with the Patrol Leader. Long-distance communications between the parts of a patrol were achieved by specific patterns of blown whistles, which every member was required to have along with a working pen, pad of paper, and flashlight.

The Sacramento chapter of the Guardian Angels was the third chapter formed in California, following the Los Angeles and San Francisco chapters. At its height, the Chapter consisted of over 50 people ranging in age from 16 to 50 years old. There, the police worked closely with the local chapter and supplied a phone number and a liaison officer for them to use within their People Oriented Police (P.O.P.) division. The chapter headquarters was a rent-free half of a commercial medical duplex for several years. The Sacramento Chapter also featured a bike patrol to help provide additional eyes and ears along the American River Parkway. Using CB radios, patrols could call back to the headquarters and have the freedom not to depend upon public pay telephones to call the Sacramento Police.

Sacramento Chapter

There were a few attempts to restart the Los Angeles Chapter in 2003 and 2004 with eventual success in 2006. Alex Makarczyk, who previously served in the Los Angeles Chapter in the mid-1980s, worked to restore the chapter after James Richards, a fellow Guardian Angel was shot to death outside his home on October 18, 2000. He was not on patrol when he was gunned down in the early morning hours, but he was assisting local law enforcement with information about drug-related crime in his neighborhood.

The organization's first West Coast chapter was formed in 1981 in Los Angeles, California. It grew quickly, reaching its peak in membership in the mid-1980s with six sub-chapters and over 250 members. However, membership dropped in the 1990s and by 2000 there was only one Venice Beach sub-chapter remaining in the city.

Los Angeles Chapter

The Los Angeles, York, and Sacramento Chapters worked with official law enforcement officers and agencies.

Outside of New York City, the Guardian Angels first established chapters in Indianapolis;

Guardian Angels in Miami


At the 2011 International Conference held in Chicago Illinois USA, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa signed into effect the Official Guardian Angels' primary defensive tactics system. The program was also endorsed by National Director Miguel "3rdRail" Fuentes and International Director, Keiji "Duke" Oda. The Defensive Tactics program is a modular program which was designed to instruct safety patrol members in a variety of domains including self-defense techniques, ground survival, weapons survival, and arrest and control tactics. The program was designed by Defensive Tactics Instructor and Chicago safety patrol member Fernan Vargas with input from Miguel Fuentes. The program, designed by a certified law enforcement defensive tactics instructor, offers appropriate use of force training to safety-patrol members based on a law enforcement model. Safety-patrol members are taught how to properly place their defensive tactics onto the use of force continuum to ensure appropriate action and minimize liability. A website was launched to support the program.[5] Travel to spread the training organization wide is one of the goals of the founder. Modules of the Guardian Angels Defensive Tactics Program have been taught to chapter members from Illinois, Indiana, Washington DC, Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Washington, Virginia, and other states.

In 1992, a New York Times article discussed the lack of training faced by recruits and members of the organization.[4]

The plan as announced was first to solidify the standards for the organization so that members from around the world could easily interact and patrol effectively together without much re-training. The other goal for the training included an effort towards reducing the liability potential for members and for the organization during their physical interventions of crime deterrence.

In 2009, at the Angels' 30th-anniversary celebration held in New York City, and then again in 2010 at the World Conference held in San Francisco, founder Curtis Sliwa announced the plan to develop Internet-based training for the organization.


CyberAngels was founded in 1995 by Gabriel Hatcher as an online "neighborhood watch."Originally the group monitored chat rooms directly with the intent of apprehending sexual predators. Later the group took what it had learned and changed its focus to educating police, schools, and families about on-line abuse and cyber crime. In 1998, CyberAngels received a Presidential Service Award. founder Tony Ricciardi was an early member of the group.


The Guardian Angels have also begun to include youth programs, teacher programs, disaster response, an Internet safety program called the CyberAngels, and self-defense courses, as well as community outreach addressing issues beyond crime.

The organization accepts volunteers who do not have a recent or serious criminal record and are not members of a gang or racial-hate group. In order to join the Safety Patrol program, members must be at least 16 years old; youth programs for younger applicants are offered. Safety Patrol members are prohibited from carrying weapons and are physically searched before patrolling. They are trained in first aid and CPR, law, conflict resolution, communication, and basic martial arts. Members are paired up and follow the directions of a Patrol Leader. If their own or other citizens' lives or health are endangered, they are allowed to do whatever is lawful and necessary.

Chapters operate similar to diversity.

The original and main Guardian Angels activity is "Safety Patrol" in which members walk the streets or ride transit. Guardian Angels must be in uniform to represent the organization. They can be identified by their red berets and red jackets or white T-shirts with the red Guardian Angels logo of an eye inside a pyramid on a winged shield.

Rules and activities

In 1992, Guardian Angels founder Restaurant Row section of midtown Manhattan, except for occasional well-publicized patrols in other neighborhoods and subway patrols to recruit new members.

have publicly supported the group. Michael Bloomberg and Rudolph Giuliani and former New York City Mayors [2]

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