Watching the Guardian Angels

By Jonathan Walsh - bio | email

Posted by Dave Dykema - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - In the wake of police layoffs, there's a group of citizens gaining in membership to help patrol the streets.

News 11 was there as the Guardian Angels walked neighborhoods in south Toledo Wednesday night.

The Angels say they're trying to be a visual deterrent, knowing they can't replace the police.

And they're not trying to.

But the more they're seen, the more they let the criminals know somebody's watching.

"People are scared. It's in a way that I've never seen it before here in Toledo," says Aaron Brilbeck, the regional director of the Guardian Angels. "We want better neighborhoods. Toledo's a great city. Unfortunately there are sections of the city that need some help right now."

That's why these members are taking back their streets, one step at a time.

But it's not easy.

"This type of a thing is a haven for drug dealers, prostitution," says Brilbeck, pointing out a burned out house.

For some neighbors it's a way of life that is all too common and they're glad these Angels are watching over them.

"It's a good thing," says Noah Hamilton. "It needs cleaning up. It needs it around here."

"I salute them," adds Michael.

The group doesn't carry weapons, but they will detain people if they see crime happening. They helped Flora Moore after she was attacked.

"It made me feel a lot better. I felt like somebody was looking after me."

They've made relationships with the neighbors.

Todd Allen, a member, says, "People come out on their porches, say hello, talk to us. Friendly atmosphere. Hopefully it just keeps getting that way all over the city."

And they aren't afraid to stand up to the criminals.

"People ask me all the time, aren't you scared about doing this? I'm more scared about not doing it," says Brilbeck. "When nobody does anything, that's when you become vulnerable."

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