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Detroit Citizen Dubbed “Batman” for Armed Neighborhood Watch Patrols

A Detroit resident has been nicknamed "Batman" after his frustration with the lack of police protection in blighted neighborhoods led him to start conducting armed neighborhood watch patrols.

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Barry Donegan
Barry Donegan is a writer, musician, and pro-liberty political activist living in Nashville, TN. Donegan served as Director-at-Large of the Davidson County Republican Party from 2009-2011 and was the Middle Tennessee Regional Coordinator over 30 counties for Ron Paul's 2012 Presidential Campaign. Follow him at facebook.com/barry.donegan and twitter.com/barrydonegan

Detroit’s economic collapse has left neighborhoods abandoned across the once-thriving Motor City. Its municipal budget crisis has caused a wide array of funding problems for city services like police protection, meaning citizens are often left on their own to deal with crimes in progress. MSN Money noted that 911 response times for top-priority crimes have been taking up to 58 minutes, leaving Detroit residents with no choice but to look for alternatives when violent criminals attack. This situation recently reached a boiling point when a citizen who called 911 emergency services to report a break-in in progress was placed on hold for over 30 minutes. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has also made comments encouraging residents to arm themselves against the city’s crime wave.

WXYZ-TV ABC 7 Detroit is reporting that local resident Walter Gildersleeve, frustrated with high levels of crime in the largely-abandoned neighborhoods on the city’s west side, has created his own group called Detroit Street Watchers that conducts armed neighborhood watch patrols. Gildersleeve, who has been dubbed “Batman” by a student who saw him patrolling near a school, posts videos of all of his crime-fighting encounters on his YouTube channel. He has a Concealed Pistol License and also open carries when on patrols.

Walter Gildersleeve, while announcing his activities on a loudspeaker to members of the community, described his mission as “making sure no one is in these abandoned houses, taking back our street, our community.” He often checks on abandoned properties on behalf of landlords, keeping an eye out for vandals, squatters, and arsonists, and also works to deter the robberies, murders, car thefts, and assaults that plague the area.

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His crime-fighting quest began when he participated in a missing persons search in which the missing young girl’s body was never found. Gildersleeve told WXYZ-TV, “I remember a search a few years ago for a baby girl, Bianca. I got into that search for her. I got real emotional. We never found her, but I never gave up.”

In the above-embedded CNN/WXYZ-TV video coverage, a neighborhood resident named Cathryn said, “We’ve got a real man out here protecting the streets.” When asked if Gildersleeve’s presence made her feel safe, she said, “Yes.”

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