With anxiety high in Lakeview over a perceived increase in crime, a group of residents is creating a Guardian Angels-Special Boystown Unit (SBU).
Residents met with four of Guardian Angels, the volunteer citizen patrol organization, to iron out plans at Center on Halsted Aug. 4.
Only a handful of people attended the meeting, at which residents opted for joining up with the Angels rather than re-inventing the wheel to create a neighborhood safety patrol.
Residents are searching out a Lakeview headquarters for the Angels as well as volunteers to patrol the neighborhood. The Angels, in turn, will train Lakeview volunteers intensively over the course of three months. While the Angels patrol the entire city, Lakeview volunteers will work in their community.
Lakeview residents have called on the Guardian Angels in the past. In 1991, activist Alyn Toler started the Pink Angels Anti-Violence project, in response to anti-LGBT violence flaring up around the country. The Guardian Angels helped train the Pink Angels. That group, however, disbanded a few years later.
This time around, Lakeview residents will become Guardian Angels themselves, working within the organization's established hierarchy and codes of conduct.
The Guardian Angels are unique from other street patrols in that they physically intervene in situations. While most images of the Angels have portrayed large muscular men, the group said it also trains women and is open to transgender people.
"It's all about empowering the members," said