Unarmed Crime Fighters Known as "Guardian Angels" Return to Protect New York's Subways After Slashings

The group, an unarmed crew of crime-stopping volunteers, was founded in the late '70s.

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Complex Original

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Following the recent spree of knife-related violence on subways in New York, the legendary Guardian Angels have decided to offer their protection to riders for the first time in more than two decades. Group founder Curtis Sliwa confirmed the Angels' return to the New York Post this week, adding that the recent outburst of attacks inspired the group's decision to hit the subways again after more than twenty years away.

"Riders are coming up and asking us 'Please, you’ve got to come back in force,'" Sliwa tells the Post. "I think it’s become obvious that the police need help, the MTA needs help. They can’t handle it." Earlier this month, the National Guard revealed plans to "establish a presence" in the Barclays Center station following a recent stabbing incident. The National Guard already regularly patrolled other city transit locations, including Penn Station.

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However, unlike the National Guard, Guardian Angels is a grassroots non-profit organization aimed at preventing crime using unarmed tactics with the assistance of volunteers. "We’ve decided to not only be out during the day, which we haven’t been, but also ramp up our efforts at night to try to stop these slashings," Sliwa tells CBS News, noting that the past month has seen at least seven subway slashing incidents.

On Sunday, the city's sixth and seventh stabbings happened within hours of each other. The first, in which a 31-year-old man was slashed with an unknown "sharp object," occurred on the platform at West 110th Street and Lenox Avenue. The second, a mugging that ended with the victim getting stabbed in the hand, occurred near 155th Street and St. Nichols Avenue.

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