Guardian Angels patrol near Lake Merritt

August 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
For the first time, a mayor has asked the Guardian Angels to patrol city streets. In Oakland, Mayor Ron Dellums and city officials are open to solutions to get crime under control. On Friday night the Guardian Angels walked the area around the Grand Lake Theater near Lake Merritt.

The Guardian Angels guarded streets around Grand Avenue. It is part of Mayor Ron Dellums' unorthodox self-described comprehensive strategy for fighting crime.

They carry no weapons. The handcuffs, they say, are just a tool to make a citizen's arrest, if necessary.

"Anybody, as it states in the Constitution can make a citizen's arrest if they see a crime. And we practice that right," says Cristina Fernandez, a Guardian Angel.

With that, a contingent of Guardian Angels some from as far away as San Diego cruised Oakland's Grand Avenue, it seemed to the relief of many who crossed their path.

"These guys, these girls here, they do a hell of a job. On Grand Avenue, I know we're glad to see them," says Walt Mitchell, an Oakland baker.

One stop was at the Milano Restaurant, the scene of one of Oakland's recent takeover robberies.

"Does it make you feel safer or is it kind of intimidating?" asks ABC7's Laura Anthony. "No. I love it. It definitely makes me feel safer," says Marcilie Smith Boyle, an Oakland diner.

Regardless, some think these angels, with their military style boots and berets are more show than substance.

"I don't understand why they need to come here. That's what police are for. I don't think any outside people should take that upon themselves," says Roselyn Wallace, an Oakland diner.

"I have reached out to the Guardian Angels, to help us in some of the business districts," says Ron Dellums, Mayor of Oakland.

While he struggles to hire more police in Oakland, Mayor Dellums claims using these unpaid, unarmed angles and hiring more private security guards might help stop at least some of the bleeding.

"The Guardian Angels have an excellent reputation. I hope they start recruiting some people from Oakland," says Jane Brunner, Oakland City Council member.

"I think these criminals, they need to be worried about our presence. When they see us walking down the street. I want to try to bring these dirt bags to justice and thwart further attacks," says Erick Wong, a San Diego Guardian Angel.

The Guardian Angels in the Grand Lake area were very well publicized. From here on, the city will be keeping the locations of the angels a secret and are coordinating those locations with the police department. The Guardian Angels say they will stay for as long as it takes until they say they see some sort of reduction in the crime rate; whether they can do that is a subject of much debate.


Load Comments