Armed citizens patrol the streets of Conn. city


By Tom A. Peter
The Christian Science Monitor 
 
NEW HAVEN, Conn. The Edgewood neighborhood near downtown New Haven, Conn., is probably one of the last places you'd expect to find residents patrolling the streets with pistols.

Turn-of-the-century carriage houses sport manicured lawns. Tall elm trees really do line Elm Street. And every night since youths beat up a rabbi's son three weeks ago, members of the newly formed Edgewood Park Defense Patrol (EPDP) have been walking the streets at night. Roughly half of them have permits to carry concealed weapons and take a handgun on patrol.

Although there's nothing illegal about the practice, this ratcheting up of a traditional neighborhood watch worries local officials and national experts. Citizens rarely, if ever, have the training that police routinely receive to defuse volatile situations. But as budget woes and other priorities cause some localities to cut back neighborhood police patrols, advocates say that stepped-up citizen policing is an understandable response - although it's a risky one with guns.

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