Fed up families left furious by police have set up a 400-strong vigilante group as they vow to keep their community safe following a spate of violent attacks.
Formed on social media just three weeks ago, community watchdog group ‘We Stand Determined’ are working together to report danger to residents across Birmingham.
At first, the group attempted to get more police officers in the area through petitioning local authorities.
But when that failed, the group decided to take action themselves, becoming another of a rising trend of community action groups hoping to fight back against criminals.
Organisers Wayne, Tracy and Michael founded the group after discovering a friend had been attacked in his home in Birmingham by thieves armed with hammers. They now organise twice-weekly patrols across the city.
Two of the organisers of the We Stand Together group in Birmingham. They are silhouetted to protect their identity at their request
They insist the group is non-violent and seeks to work in partnership with the police, not against it, but think crime in the UK is getting out of hand and want to act as a new line of defence for the community.
Solihull-based college lecturer Wayne, 47, who does not wish to reveal his surname for fears over his safety, said: ‘The way our group started, and the reaction we’ve had, has showed us how much local communities need groups like us to fill in the gaps the authorities simply don’t have the funding for.
‘There has been a recent spate of crime in Birmingham recently and Solihull in particular has fallen victim to an increase of just under 1,500 more cases so far this year.
‘People needed someone to turn to, someone who will listen and visit them in their home if a constituent is fearful for their own safety.
‘We’re vigilantes, but we’re vigilantes with a twist, working within the law and not against it.
‘Our group is a central place for the local community to come together to log crimes, comment and help stop crime in the area.’
Recently Birmingham has been blighted by a wave of stabbings, shootings and murders.
Also plaguing the city are ‘Corsa Cannibals’ known for stripping down Vauxhall Corsas to sell the parts on.
Tracy said We Stand Determined is not against West Midlands Police, as they understand the force can only do what they can with the funding they are given.
But the group say this doesn’t solve the problem of reduced Bobbies on the beat – so they were forced to themselves.
They are not the first group to take matters into their own hands.
Self-made superheroes began patrolling the streets as Liverpool’s very own version of the Justice League, earlier this year.
While Superman and co used their unique skills to keep the streets safe, Knight Warrior, Templar, Black Mercer and Radical are armed with only their eyes and ears and the desire to help out.
The group was formed over similar fears and also carry out community work, to help people feel safer.
Groups of self-styled paedophile hunters have also been snaring offenders and handing them to police as ordinary citizens are taking the law into their own hands.
However, all groups say they want to work with officers.
A spate of crime in Birmingham has led to the formation of a vigilante group. Pictured: The scene in Great Barr, north-west Birmingham, where a man was stabbed in the chest in broad daylight over a failed car jacking
A police cordon in Handsworth Park, Birmingham next to the Handsworth Wellbeing Centre where a 16-year-old boy was seriously stabbed and a 15-year-old girl was also hurt in the attack
We Stand Determined don’t want to stop at patrols and have big plans to generate a totally new level of support in the area by organising buddy systems for the elderly and defence classes for anyone who feels they need to be able to protect themselves.
They hope to grow bigger and have representatives based in every area of the country to work so Wayne, Tracy and Michael can help everyone sleep a little easier.
Tracy, 48, said: ‘We stress to our members that if they see something, they should notify the police first.
‘We would like to join up with the police, but we want to be able to make our own decisions on where the help is really needed, and not where the police tell us to be.’
Wayne added: ‘We hope to gather funding to support out future objectives, at the moment we are totally self-funded.
A group of paedophile hunters forced a sobbing man to observe the two-minute Remembrance Day silence before they made a citizens’ arrest over the weekend
Vigilante group and paedophile hunters have been detaining people (pictured) who have committed a crime
‘I just want to make a big difference to the area, and help anyone, anywhere, who needs it. Crime here is getting out of hand.
‘We’re so proud of our community, for standing up to what we believe is an ongoing issue that’s yet to have a solution.’
A spokesman for West Midlands Police said officers were aware of multiple groups but advised members to join police-approved Streetwatch programmes instead.