It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Or maybe it’s a few unarmed middle-aged dudes wearing funny red hats patrolling the mean streets of Brockton on foot trying to ward off thuggery and crime by pointing and screaming at people.
Now look, these guys truly do deserve tons of credit. They have the noblest of intentions – they are trying to help keep their city safe, they are extremely brave to confront violent offenders without any weapons, they have definitely helped some people in the past, and they are doing it all without getting paid one dollar. All the power to them. I completely respect what they are trying to do. In fact, many Brockton residents loudly support the Brockton Guardian Angels, and consider the city streets safer with them out there.
Some had questioned if the Angels’ “patrol car” was capable of apprehending or intimidating perpetrators.
The problem is that Brockton is in the midst of its deadliest, most dangerous year ever – violent crime, heroin addiction, daily shootings, robberies, gangs, kids stabbing each other, Main Street has more prostitutes and drug-dealers than businesses on any given night. While Brockton police are trying to empty an ocean of drugs with a teaspoon, how much can these glorified vigilantes really help?? One Brockton police officer revealed that “in general the Brockton police usually have little to no contact with the Brockton chapter of the guardian angels”.
Remember most of these guys are untrained, unarmed, unlicensed, and they are involving themselves in the some of the most perilous situations imaginable in one of the worst towns (statistically) in America. Quite frankly, making “citizen’s arrests” can be extremely dangerous, and even many law enforcement officers worry that the Brockton Guardian Angels – though they are well-meaning – might sometimes be in over their head.
What if they were to enter themselves into a violent criminal situation before police arrive? Could that allow the perpetrator to get away clean when he/she otherwise wouldn’t? Can a lack of professional training cause crime scene evidence get contaminated? Could attempting to make a citizen’s arrest escalate a violent situation? What if someone gets injured or killed during a citizen’s arrest? What if that same person is later deemed innocent of any wrongdoing? Also, remember it is not illegal to “resist” a citizen’s arrest – unlike a police arrest.
I wish safe travels to Brockton’s Guardian Angels during this crime-riddled summer, hopefully someday Brockton will be a city where crime is so scarce that people won’t feel a need to have “guardian angels” on the streets at all.