After seven homicides this year in Lompoc, residents are coming together.
Lompoc’s newly formed neighborhood watch group Guardian Angels held their first training and recruitment meeting. The group is seeking neighbors to join their mission to make Lompoc safer.
“We are looking for people that care about the community and that are willing to venture to communicate a message of peace, calm and be law-abiding,” said Lompoc Guardian Angel Chapter leader Matthew Barrow.
The Guardian Angels do not carry weapons.
“The idea is to avoid confrontation but be involved in deescalation,” said Barrow.
City council member Victor Vega is backing the organization and said he plans to join them.
“The community has been starved for community involvement and an organization that can actually help Lompoc curb its crime,” said council member Vega.
The Angels utilize volunteers who may have martial art or law enforcement training, but all are welcome to join.
“There is going to be training involved, self-defense, disaster awareness, and first aid training,” said Vega.
The group plans to do community services like neighborhood clean-ups, aid the community in missing persons, patrol neighborhoods and create youth programs.
In the meeting, they spoke of crime-ridden “hot spots” in Lompoc they plan to focus on.
“We hope that the police department and the citizens of Lompoc join in and help make a difference in our community,” said member Jesse Romero.
The patrol unit uses the buddy system, with no less than 8 volunteers patrolling at once.
“You are always paired with someone else and when you go outside on patrol that is your person, you are watching each other’s backs,” said Keiji Duke Oda, the International Guardian Angels Director.
The first meeting and training session also gave residents pointers on how to stay safe.
“Crime can be directly measured by how active the citizens are involved in the community. When the citizens are not involved, crimes will rise and that is what we are trying to prevent,” Barrow said.