SAN DIEGO — Residents fed up with crime in Pacific Beach are forming a new neighborhood watch group.
Members of Pacific Beach Guardian Angels attended a Pacific Beach Town Council meeting Wednesday night to recruit volunteers and share their vision of a safer PB. The nonprofit is part of an international group that uses citizen foot patrols to reduce crime.
Volunteers are not allowed to carry weapons and must pass a background check. They focus on non-violent verbal intervention but can make a citizen’s arrest if necessary, according to the group’s founder, Paul McBride.
“It’s a visual deterrent to crime,” McBride said. “So if you see five guys walking around in uniform you’re probably less likely to commit a crime at that moment.”
Some Pacific Beach residents expressed concern about the group criminalizing homelessness.
“We have not addressed properly our unsheltered crisis,” one resident told FOX 5.
“Our focus is not directly on the homeless or anything to do with that,” said volunteer Sarah Bonesteel.
“We are here to help everybody — not just people who are housed or unhoused,” McBride told residents.
The San Diego Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team attended the meeting to address residents’ concerns about crime in their neighborhood.
Officers said they will be meeting with the Guardian Angels before their first patrol.
McBride said they hope to begin patrols in November.