The Big Apple’s homegrown Guardian Angels are back and patrolling the subways following a spate of violent slashings.
The group’s founder, Curtis Sliwa, led his army of red-beret volunteers into New York City’s underground Monday to deter crime and make straphangers feel protected.
“A slashing here and a slashing there, that’s what paralyzes people,” Sliwa told WABC-TV.
Six reports of knife attacks have plagued commuters since the start of 2016, igniting fears that the subway system is seeing a surge in crime.
Sliwa blames the NYPD’s apparent lack of train car patrols for the uptick and said he plans to send his volunteers into the subways on a daily basis.
“Their role is to see something, say something,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said. “They’re not expected to engage in anything — they don’t have any powers.”
In a radio interview Monday, Bratton announced extra police patrols on the subway while downplaying the slashings as “isolated.”
The Angels emerged as the city’s godsend in 1978, but its reputation was tarnished when former Mayor Edward Koch branded the volunteers as vigilantes.
In 1992, Sliwa admitted to fabricating kidnappings and muggings in the group’s early days. The Angels stopped most of its local patrols by 1994, after Rudy Giuliani was elected.
After spreading to other cities across the nation, Sliwa’s Angels resurfaced in Manhattan last year, with patrols in Central Park.