A recent spike in auto thefts and robberies in Northwest D.C.'s Petworth neighborhood has prompted community leaders to call on a safety patrol called the Guardian Angels. The all-volunteer red beret brigade attends community meetings, walks the beat with local residents, and hopes their weekly presence on the street can improve community safety.
Police say the Angels have little law enforcement power, but agree that having them on the street is a good thing. Petworth is the latest stop on the organization's' decades-long tour of the city, and their solid reputation precedes them. On this particular night in Petworth several people nodded, waved, and stopped to greet the Angels and express their gratitude for the work they do. Other residents believe the Angels are actually better than the armed police, and could provide a buffer between potentially hostile interactions between police and residents.