Trying to cut crime after a private security firm failed, the management of two large apartment complexes near Miami has called on the Guardian Angels. The Miami Herald reports that crime was commonplace in the apartments before the Guardian Angels’ March 10 arrival. Gunshots, loud domestic disputes, and a murder-suicide kept tenants on edge. The calls to police were as many as three a day in one complex.
Now, seven Guardian Angels armed with their customary handcuffs and flashlights patrol the courtyards and parking lots. They do not carry guns, and they frisk their colleagues as an extra security measure when going in and out of headquarters to make sure no one is armed. The apartment management pays each of them $500 a week for their round-the-clock services. “Any crime we see, it’s zero tolerance. we will arrest you — from rolling dice to smoking marijuana,” Bruce “Supreme” Stevenson, 31, said, referring to the public right to make a citizen’s arrest. “There’s no hanging in the breezeway. . . . It’s a hallway, not a chillway.”
So far, the Angels say they have made 20 citizen’s arrests for trespassing, domestic violence, breaking and entering — and five for drug possession. Angels report that most disturbances are for gambling or loitering.
Before “chillways” became hallways again, the almost year-old city of Miami Gardens slashed 52 positions from its police force because of a shortfall of $6.5 million. The Angels’ duties aren’t limited to serving as a visible deterrent. Their responsibilities range from staffing the entrance booths to filling out nightly incident reports and patrol logs.