Guardian Angels are spreading their wings in south Jackson - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Guardian Angels are spreading their wings in south Jackson

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

A double-digit rise in business burglaries has prompted one organization to spread its wings to the streets and help protect their neighborhoods. We're talking about the Guardian Angels, part of a national organization that promotes neighborhood awareness and an end to crime.  

They walked a stretch of McDowell Road, where burglaries have spiked in the last few weeks, to send a message.  

"I stay in this neighborhood," said Guardian Angels Mississippi Chapter president Bennie Jones. "I stay right up the street, so I see how it is over this way."  

Jones said crime in his neighborhood is something he takes very personally.  

"Police can't be everywhere," said Jones. "You know, they need more people out, eyes and ears, and basically, that's what we want to do."

Jones has been with the Guardian Angels since 1982 when he started the Mississippi Chapter.

While the organization typically canvasses residential neighborhoods to deter would-be burglars, Jones says they're doing something different on this night.  

"I was saying, you know, we got so much crime going on, stores getting robbed, so you know, we're gonna start patrolling parking lots and stores and stuff like that," said Jones.

Crime stats from the Jackson Police Department seem to back up that claim as well. While the number of house and auto burglaries are down compared with this time last year, business burglaries are up, more than 44 percent over 2013.  

In fact, in a nine-day stretch ending July 25, employees at four different businesses on McDowell Road were threatened at gunpoint for money. That ever-present danger on the Jackson streets might make some wonder how the Guardian Angels do what they do, without weapons.  

"We're armed. See these arms?" Guardian Angels Chapter Leader Lamar Hall asked, pointing to his and another member's forearms. "We are very armed."  

Their numbers aren't as big as they once were, however. Jones said they have around 13 active members, but they're always looking for recruits.  

"Anyone that wants to join, male, female, no matter, from age 16 to where you feel you can still do it [is good]," said Hall. "I'm 58 years old and I'm still out here."  

Jones said they try to patrol a few times a week in Jackson neighborhoods, but getting more recruits will allow them to do more.  

He also said members use the experience as a way to reach young people involved in crime, telling them there's a way out, a different path.  

Those interested in joining the Guardian Angels can contact Jones at (601) 946-1594.

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