NEW YORK - The Guardian Angels have been on the streets of New York City for four decades offering safety patrols. Now, during the coronavirus outbreak, they are in the public transportation system to help protect people without a home.
On a recent day, two Guardian Angels were walking car-to-car on E trains in the New York City subway system to make sure that homeless people had food, water, and other essentials.
"We're down there every day, riding the E train," Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa says. "We're washing their hands, washing their faces with an alcohol solution, and then we're giving them nutrition that's going to last them through the day."
The group says it is feeding around 80 homeless people a day during the week and up to 180 on the weekends.
The Guardian Angels are also cleaning subway seats and hand bars to try to protect riders from catching the coronavirus.
Above ground, the group says that criminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are being encouraged to wear face masks.
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"They're waving at the video cameras because you clearly can't identify them," Sliwa says. "They look like the mummy."
There are six mobile Guardian Angels crews working in Washington Heights, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn.
The Guardian Angels are concentrating on preventing crime at bodegas and grocery stores as commercial burglaries are a major concern.
"We're giving them fliers in English and Spanish letting them know that if they see any thug they see any crime or potential crime or vandalism to give us a call. We'll be there lickity split," Sliwa says.