Fort Pierce Guardian Angels patrol to protect problem neighborhoods

FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- A newly formed volunteer group in Fort Pierce is working to make crime-heavy streets safer.

The Fort Pierce Guardian Angels are a team of five volunteers who spend several hours a week patrolling problem streets.

They serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for law enforcement. Yet, someone who the community may be more comfortable to turn to with information to solve crimes.

Ned Childress says some days, he'll walk more than five miles in one patrol. "Were going to stay vigilant, and if we see anything were going to move on it," said Childress.

The team of volunteers wears standard dress for any Guardian Angel: Red barets, boots, a white t-shirt, and a utility belt with handcuffs and a badge. It's what any volunteer Guardian  Angel world-wide would wear.

The group formed as gun violence has been prevalent in Fort Pierce. Police report more than 60 incidents of gun fire in 3 months.

Saturday, the volunteers walked to a corner store near 24th street and Avenue I that they say is known to be a source of drug problems. "We know for a fact there's drugs being sold out of the store," said Childress.

The Guardian Angels stood on the corner and watched for anything suspicious at the store. They hope their presence alone with deter violence. They are trained in self-defense it a conflict arises.

"We just laugh and smile when we're on the corners because we know we're stopping drugs from being sold," said Childress.

But as Childress walks, one thing weighs on his mind. :I think about my son all the time. He's doing life in prison because he was in gangs."

Childress says he now rarely gets to see his son, and wants to keep others from following in his foot steps.

There is also a Treasure Coast chapter of the Guardian Angels, and about 5000 Guardian Angels worldwide.

The Fort Pierce Guardian Angels are looking for more volunteers. Contact Pastor Ned Childress if you want to help at 772-708-3736.

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