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Guardian Angels Patrol Inwood Hill Park After Sexual Assaults

By Carla Zanoni | September 20, 2010 2:42pm | Updated on September 21, 2010 12:03pm

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

INWOOD — Wearing their trademark red berets and red sateen jackets, two members of the Guardian Angels civilian crime patrol stood out from the elderly people, parents pushing strollers and joggers enjoying Inwood Hill Park last week.

Most parkgoers responded positively to the duo, who were there to keep watch after an Aug. 31 sexual assault in the park, the second reported attack of its kind this year. 

"We're here to make people feel safe and secure and let anyone who wants to hurt someone else know that we are here," said Benjamin "EQ" Garcia, the Guardian Angel's New York City operations director who lives in Washington Heights.

Jerlene Johnson, who works at the nearby Northeastern Academy school on West 215th Street, said she was happy to see the men on patrol.

"Keep up the good work, gentlemen," she said as she walked past.

Garcia led his partner "Demolition," who refrained from offering his name, through the park, pointing out hiding places and what he thought could be hot spots for criminal activity.

"This is an assailant's dream," Garcia said, motioning to nooks of thick forest and large rocks along the hillside. "If I put myself in a criminal's mind I can easily see there are a lot of places to attack in here."

The police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.