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Citizen vigilantes

Citizen vigilantes on the rise across the US amid rising crime, cuts to police

Thursday, June 27, 2013 by: J. D. Heyes
Tags: citizen vigilantes, Detroit, crime fighters

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(NaturalNews) It's not that the police aren't necessarily doing a bad job, but in some cases, they just aren't around when they are needed, so citizens, increasingly, are feeling compelled to take justice into their own hands.

Consider Gotham City - home to 8.4 million souls. From CBS New York:

By day they are just like everybody else, but by night a group of real life "superheroes" patrols the streets of New York City, avenging crime by taking matters into their own hands.

They are members of the New York Superheroes club, and they use names that could have been created in the world of comics: Snipe, Spyder, Spector, Dark Guardian. And while what they are doing may seem comical to some, these crimefighters take their commitment very seriously.

"We're New Yorkers. This is the city we have to protect," Spyder recently told CBS 2's Maurice Dubois.

'To me, it's a beautiful thing'

At night when they begin their patrols, they mount skateboards which they say can double as shields, and they hit the streets.

"Throw it down and I can chase somebody if they're trying to get away," another member, Zero, told the local news team.

When they are scouring neighborhoods and subways looking for any signs of trouble, these superheroes also don special clothing - non-traditional "body armor" that is made from plastics and metal, for protection.

The local news team's cameras accompanied the group when they confronted a man whom they said had been causing problems in Harlem River Park.

While what the Superheroes group is doing may sound wacked out to most people, they are actually part of a larger movement that is taking hold in other parts of the United States. Some of those street-justice types even wear full superhero costumes when they go out to patrol.

And as it stands, a number of New Yorkers like what the superheroes group is doing; they see the members as standing up for the community.

"To me, it's a beautiful thing," one man told the local news crew.

As for NYPD, well, the enthusiasm might not be as high, but the Superheroes effort isn't being completely written off, either, from the sound of it - just maybe refocused.

"We encourage civilians interested in helping their community to join an established NYPD program in their local precinct," said a Police Department spokesperson who was not named in the report.

It's not as though the group is looking for violence. In fact, members told CBS 2 that they see their role as primarily de-escalating high-stress situations. They also said they work frequently with the city's finest on the NYPD.

Now Detroit, however, is a different story. As the city continues to decay and crumble, a number of real-life vigilante groups have formed as police presence - and the city's budget - tumbles.

'We got to have a little Old West up here...'

Residents of historically crime-ridden neighborhoods - and these are growing in number - have begun to not only protect themselves but to take matters of law, order and justice into their own hands. From Britain's Daily Mail:

Vigilante justice is rising in one of America's most violent cities as residents in crime-ridden neighborhoods take matters into their own hands.

Detroit, Michigan, saw 34 self-defense killings in 2011 - a 79 percent increase from the previous year, according to statistics ...

The "justifiable homicides" rate is 2,200 per cent above the U.S. average, as citizens cope with alarmingly high response times and police cuts.

Some of the vigilante groups are manned by ex-cops, but many consist of ordinary folk tired of being victimized as their once-great, shining city rusts, decays and falls down around them.

"We got to have a little Old West up here in Detroit. That's what it's gonna take," Detroit resident Julia Brown, 73, told the website The Daily. "I don't intend to be one of their victims, I'm planning on taking one out."

Use of private security firms is also on the rise in Detroit.

Sources for this article include:




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