Reporting Andrea Menniti
STOCKTON (CBS13) – After returning to Stockton, Guardian Angels have recruited more than a dozen people to help take back the streets of the crime-infested city.
You can see bullet holes in the newly formed Stockton Guardian Angels post, a clear example of the problems neighbors face.
“We are patrolling this to create a crime-free environment for the neighbors,” one of the Angels said Tuesday.
The team of six is focusing on a central Stockton neighborhood with a history of gun violence, graffiti and squatters.
“Major vandalism that’s gone on,” an Angel said of a gutted apartment unit.
Up and running for the final four months of 2012, the Angels hope to recruit more members, but in a bankrupt city with a record-breaking homicide rate, finding men and women to join the unarmed safety patrol isn’t easy.
“I think it’s difficult to get people to volunteer because they are afraid,” an Angel said.
Fear isn’t stopping this group. The men and women patrol at least once a week.
“We want to be here to help people,” one member said.
For the most part neighbors on this block welcome the extra sets of eyes.
“The Guardian Angels, they care, they really do,” neighbor Stefan Marzette said. “Some people don’t want to go to police or whatever, but maybe they’ll go to a Guardian Angel.”
As the people of Stockton enter a new year complete with new leadership at City Hall, the Guardian Angels are hopeful the violence will stop and people of all ages will join the good guys.
“We are going to try to rebuild this park here, put in a basketball court, playground, make it where kids can hang out,” an Angel said.