Your Hero: "Guardian Angels" watching over the streets of York

Crime, Law and JusticeCrimeRichard LeeDrug Trafficking

Determination and courage are helping keep the city of York safe. In this week's "Your Hero," we go along with the "Guardian Angels" as they hit the streets to fight crime.

Since the York Chapter started patrolling the streets in October, 2008, crime in the White Rose city dropped by 15-percent. The group is another resource for police, acting as eyes, ears and voices; telling criminals they are not welcome.

"Every time I see these fellows around, I know the neighborhood is okay," says a city resident watching the group pass by his house, they walk the streets like a small army.

"You know you want to deter crime, you don't always want to have to deal with it after it happens," says Mike Smith, leader of the group.

Smith's brother was killed on the streets of York and now he's dedicated to preventing the same violence and crime that changed his family's life forever.

Smith says, "We are community members, we are just regular people who basically found a way to stand up and make a difference, you know I feel as though if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem."

"I seem to think that sometimes when they see us that they know they can't take over the city anymore," says Richard Lee Weary.

He feels empowered by being a part of the group. In fact, it's something he knew he had to do.

"When I watched one of my friends die in front of me I decided it was time for me to give to the community to help to try to keep the streets safe," Weary says.

To do that, the "Guardian Angels" are trained in self defense & tactics to work the streets; from dealing with nuisances to drug dealers, even violent criminals they may come across on patrol.

Ed Delridge has volunteered with the group for two years.

He says, "When we're out on patrol, we definitely mean business, we have to be out there, we have to be on point."

They also have to listen and talk to community members; half the time that's all it takes to make difference. So far, it's working.

"The first year out, we had a 15-percent drop in crime, you know, now that's phenomenal for any city," Smith says.

"That's the one advantage we have is walking around & being in the community talking to people having contact with them & that says a lot, that means a lot to people," says Delridge.

"If you sit back & analyze it, there is much less stuff going on now in York than there was two years ago," says Smith.

"If you want to make a difference, you do it, it's as simple as that, that's what we do, we get out there & do it," Delridge says.

'You only fail if you're inconsistent, you have to stay at it, you can't get comfortable," Smith says.

The "Guardian Angels" carry no weapons, but do receive training in self defense, hand-to-hand combat and are certified in CPR.

They are often seen patrolling the streets with York County Sheriff's Deputies.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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