Armed and intimidating.
That’s how more than a dozen men look who spend their days and nights patrolling their neighborhood near San Antonio, Texas.
“[I just] kind of got tired of the break-ins and whatnot,” Andy, a volunteer for the Crime Deterrence Unit, said. “A lot of our members are ex-military.”
The founder, Bryan, is also ex-military.
“Right now, we have a few people running around here, thinking that they can just kind of do whatever they want,” Bryan said. “We’re kind of just putting them on notice, letting them know that you know what, it’s not going to work. We’re not having it.”
Bryan started the group in September of 2016, after car break-ins and a shooting near his home.
“We pretty much stopped crime in that neighborhood,” Bryan said.
He has recruited more than 20 volunteers and expanded to 10 more neighborhoods and six businesses.
The group has marked vehicles, body armor and guns.
The armed volunteers said they’re not vigilantes, but if they see a felony in progress they can make a citizen’s arrest under Texas law.
Bexar County authorities would rather handle the arrest.
“We’d rather that they back off if they’re able to. Be a good witness for us,” Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, said. “Let us know everything we need know about the situation and let law enforcement step in and make that arrest.”
Only eight months in, the Crime Deterrence Unit has not had any confrontations.
“Frequently we get comments of appreciation,” said one unnamed volunteer. “Occasionally, we get comments of naysayers that, well, we don’t need that there.”
Even with the naysayers their mission remains undeterred.
“We’re out here trying to make sure homeowners aren’t victimized anymore,” Andy, said.
All they want is a nice neighborhood to reside in.
“We want to live in a nice safe neighborhood where our kids can go outside and play and not have to worry about it,” Bryan said.
The group does have an official website at cdupatrol.com