City Desk

Guardian Angels Face Down New Enemy: Public Shyness

After three women around Dupont Circle were mugged for their phones last week, the Guardians Angels have started patrolling the area, WTOP reports. But John Ayala, the D.C. chapter leader for the Angels, tells City Desk that standoffish pedestrians are making it harder to get the word out.

In addition to spooking potential robbers, Ayala and his colleagues are trying to pass out a flyer with anti-theft tips. But many passers-by who didn't want to talk to the group left Ayala feeling like a "virus."

"I don't know if it's because they don't know who we are," says John Ayala, the D.C. Angels' director of operation. "Maybe we look funny in our red berets."

Anyone who does stop to talk to one of the Guardians Angels could be in for a longish chat. Ayala's recommendations for safe public phone use are extensive, and include:

  1. Find the wall of a store or building.
  2. Put your back against it.
  3. "Scan the area."
  4. When you're comfortable, make your phone call or text.

Ayala says the patrols will continue once or twice a week through December, because he suspects the thieves are just looking for quick holiday cash. "Once they get a cell phone, that's a quick $50," he says.

File photo by Matt Dunn.

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  • Fabrisse

    The Guardian Angels pick fights on public transportation when they "patrol." I don't feel safer when they're around. Vigilantes should never be encouraged.

  • Tourist

    Urbanites learn that, in general, groups of aggressive young men are to be avoided. Instead of styling themselves as some kind of pseudo-paramilitary organization, maybe these guys should be wearing baseball caps and polo shirts, and travel in pairs instead of packs.

  • Batman & Robin

    Get these amateur crime fighter-wannabees off the street. They don't make anyone--partcularly white people--feel safer.

  • John Ayala

    Amateur Crime Fighter-wannabees! I dont think so.

    The Metropolitan Police Department will honor some its most dedicated police officers, civilian employees and members of the community who work tirelessly to protect and serve the citizens.

    • On Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at approximately 7:56 pm, a complainant was riding on the Metro Train when the train stopped at the Rhode Island Ave Station. Suspect #1 snatched the complainant’s iPAD from his hands and fled from the train, along with Suspect #2. A Guardian Angel, who had just finished patrol and was on his way home was outside and heard the commotion, he observed the first suspect with the iPAD. He stopped the suspect, taking the iPAD from him. Suspect #2 saw that Suspect #1 had been stopped by the Guardian Angel, so he pulled him away from the Guardian Angel, along with the iPAD. Both suspects fled towards the Brentwood Shopping Center with the Guardian Angel and the original complainant giving chase. The suspects were apprehended by the Guardian Angel and MPD officers. No injuries were sustained by any parties involved. Note: The Guardian Angels, under the leadership of Mr. John Ayala had already been notified (prior to this incident) that they, too, had been selected to receive an award this year for their ongoing work in the past year of patrolling city streets and Metro trains, mobilizing communities through neighborhood walks, and riding the Met Branch Trail to promote safety on the trail.

    On Father’s Day, Sunday, June 17, 2012, as a 69 year old man left the McDonald’s at 414 Rhode Island Avenue, NE, a 62 year old man rushed up to him as the victim was getting into his car. The suspect robbed the victim of money and was trying to get away.

    Guardian Angel Dion King, who was having a Father’s Day lunch at the restaurant, saw what was going on and immediately rushed out to intervene. Guardian Angel King stopped and detained the robber, who was turned over to Fifth District officers as they arrived at the scene.

    We want to thank Dion King, and all the Guardian Angels who regularly and routinely help patrol the streets and alleys and bike paths of 5D as they assist the 5D community in efforts to create safer neighborhoods.

    Andy Solberg

    Commander, 5D

  • GetOnDeez

    Ungrateful MFs!

  • Name

    If they looked 50% less like the black panthers, they'd be 1000% more effective.

  • Kemit

    Think it's pretty cool that they are willing to do what they do. If this is a police matter, some kids very well could end up tagged.

    For the clueless: Black panthers usually don't have Guardian Angels printed on their shirts. The second or stronger clue is the red beret.

  • Tired of It

    Blame the standoffish-ness on every environmental, feed the children, help the gays organization that constantly harasses every person walking by to sign a petition or donate money.

    No I don't have time to chat, I'm going to work.