Reporting Bernie Tafoya
Filed underHeard on WBBM 780, Local, News, Politics, Seen on CBS 2, Syndicated Local, Watch + Listen
CHICAGO (CBS) – The Guardian Angels volunteer citizen crime-fighting group invited Mayor Rahm Emanuel to join them on one of their patrols in the city’s neighborhoods, after the mayor said they’d be more useful in spots other than the Magnificent Mile.
On Wednesday, the mayor suggested the Guardian Angels would be more helpful patrolling Safe Passage routes kids use to get to and from school, rather than the popular shopping and tourism district along Michigan Avenue.
Guardian Angels leader Miguel Fuentes said their volunteers already work in the neighborhoods, not just the Magnificent Mile. Volunteers with the group are regularly seen on CTA trains and platforms, especially along the Red Line.
“The Guardian Angels have been around for 32 years, and we’ve done what people call now Safe Passage. We’ve done the escorts for years,” he said. “Safe Passage was something the mayor created when he closed the schools. I think it’s unfair to throw the Guardian Angels into something that he created, and at the same time I’m not sure if the mayor wants to tell the families of the kids who are traveling back and forth that these Safe Passages are going to require Guardian Angels’ presence.”
He invited the mayor to join the Guardian Angels on patrol one night to see that they do more than focus on high-profile locations downtown.
“We would love it if he’d come out on patrol, and see exactly who the Guardian Angels are, and what we do, but we obviously cannot have armed security with us,” he said.
The Guardian Angels never carry weapons, to avoid violent confrontations.
Fuentes said Guardian Angels members were on Michigan Avenue earlier this week to pass out flyers with safety tips for shoppers and tourists, to help them avoid having their wallets, purses, or smartphones stolen.
The group said it wants to make sure the Magnificent Mile does not become known as “Muggers’ Mile.”