Recently Phoenix Jones made the news because his efforts in Seattle lead to his arrest. Phoenix Jones, who is the leader of the city’s Rain City Superhero Movement, and other real-life superheroes have been patrolling the streets of Seattle for some time. However, Phoenix Jones and the RCSM are not the only real-life superheroes patrolling the city streets at night. According to ‘The New York Times,’ real-life superheroes have been reported in Minneapolis, New York City, Boston, Milwaukee, San Francisco, and Salt Lake City.

Police getting help from regular people to fight crime is not a new concept. Neighborhood Watch programs have been around for decades, but those who consider themselves to be a part of the real-life superhero movement go a step further by donning a costume and creating a superhero identity. Many do not just stay in one neighborhood; they activity patrol areas with high crime rates, and some carry gear for protection such pepper spray. They also have cell phones to call the police; all good, dependable real-life superheroes call the police so the (alleged) criminals can be taken off the streets, hopefully for good.

In many cities, the police keep their distance from these individuals. According to a spokesperson for the Salt Lake Police Department, Detective Joshua Ashdown, “We’re not endorsing them, supporting them, condemning them or anything else—we’re staying neutral and out of it. The ones we endorse are the ones we have trained.”

Many crime fighters have regular jobs and families. Some are motivated to help police forces that have been cut due to budget demands, some patrol because they or someone they know has been a victim of crime, and others don a mask to help others out of a need to make amends for past misdeeds. Asylum, a member of Salt Lake City’s Black Monday Society, started fighting crime to make up for his time as a debt collector for drug dealers. Asylum, also known as 31-year-old Mike Gailey, said, “I was a thug. There are a lot of guys like me that have pasts they’re trying to make up for.”

As long as real-life superheroes have the goal of protecting citizens, follow the law, and report their activities to the police, I think they are helpful because they make people feel safer. I’ve been a victim of a crime; it was a minor mugging, and the police really couldn’t do anything. Perhaps the presence of a real-life superhero could have stopped what happened to me.

What do you think? Do you find the increasing numbers of real-superheroes helpful or a hassle? Comment below and let me know!