Originally posted: http://www.thedailyaztec.com/2011/02/real-life-superheros-patrol-on-campus/
Upset with an apathetic public, these guys took safety in their own hands
While they may not have the superhero powers featured in movies and comic strips, a local group has been braving the streets equipped with bulletproof vests and mace to “take a stand against violent crime.”
Although his “real job” is working as a security officer, Mr. Xtreme is the founder and president of the Xtreme Justice League. The name was inspired by the Justice League of America comic strips, but also because he views what he does as extreme.
“Most people aren’t going to put themselves on the line to help people they don’t know or put themselves in dangerous situations,” Mr. Xtreme said. “I think my views are extreme also, but in a good way.”
He said team members use influences from their choice characters and apply those traits to real life with the intent to stop crime through prevention, physical intervention and community outreach.
This is part of an online movement known as Real Life Superheros, in which individuals and groups perform heroic acts for the community under the masks of their hidden identities, he said.
The San Diego-based group actively patrols the College Area in response to lasts month’s assault of a woman walking home at 3 a.m. near the intersection of Campanile Drive and Montezuma Road. They also patrol areas of Chula Vista beca.
The XJL is comprised of approximately 15 individuals — students, security guards, military and retail workers — who are “running this aggressive campaign” to stop the perpetrators and prevent future attacks by raising awareness of these issues to the public, according to Mr. Xtreme.
“We are all regular people. It doesn’t matter who we are, but it matters what we do. “That’s what is special about our group: it’s a pretty diverse group of people.”
The group acts as a “visual deterrent to crime” during the day, late evenings and late night, based on what they feel is necessary.
According to Capt. Lamine Secka of the SDSU Police Department, the XJL doesn’t seem to have prevented any particular crimes, but the police department stands neutral as it hasn’t been much of a nuisance either.
Although, Secka noted, the XJL’s outfits “can be a bit distracting.”
Real life superheros patrol on campus from The Daily Aztec on Vimeo.
Mr. Xtreme, who based his outfit on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, wears a green helmet and matching cape, level IIIA bulletproof body armor, goggles that conceal his eyes and camouflage pants. Urban Avenger, a newer member who joined the XJL in the summer, dresses in red and black Under Armor items with polycarbonate motorcycle gear.
Each member carries an assortment of self-defense devices and tools that vary from pepper spray, tasers, flashlights, handcuffs and first aid to CPR kits — all of which are legal under full extent of the law, Mr. Xtreme said.
These tools are helpful if the group witnesses a crime and must implement a citizen’s arrest. Based on California Penal Code S.837, a private person may arrest another in three situations; for a public offense committed or attempted in his presence; when the person arrested has committed a felony, although not in his presence; or when a felony has been confirmed and the citizen has reasonable cause to believe their suspect has committed it.
Though Mr. Xtreme said they’ve deployed their weapons and performed citizen’s arrests in the past, they refuse the title of “vigilantes” because they try to work within reason and not harm anyone.
Urban Avenger said that in October, he helped break up a fight involving a few men outside the San Diego State trolley station. A few months later, the man who was attacked approached him and thanked him for saving his life.
“That was the moment that justified everything we do,” he said.
However, there have been times when members of the XJL were detained by police during patrol because it was not immediately clear whether they were criminals themselves, he said.
International security and conflict resolution senior Amir Emadi said the group has a lot of potential for growth since the city is host to Comic-Con and a strong XJL presence would be good for society.
“The best aspect is it’s an option for those who might be considering joining gangs to join (the XJL) as an alternative,” Emadi said. “You can tell they feel it in their hearts and that makes them real superheros.”
The XJL is seeking to recruit more members from all backgrounds.
“The XJL can’t tackle all these problems ourselves,” Mr. Xtreme said. “We want people to volunteer and get involved so we can make our community safer. Public safety should be everyone’s concern.”