Given last week's horrific beating death of Sean Patrick Conroy in a busy underground SEPTA thoroughfare, some may want the Army's Green Berets patrolling the trackways.

They're not available - but the red-beret-wearing members of the Guardian Angels, the international, all-volunteer civic safety organization, has vowed to patrol SEPTA's system during the peak hours of potential violence.

The Angels, led by outspoken New Yorker president Curtis Sliwa, will patrol the heaviest routes on the Market-Frankford and Broad Street lines from 1 to 5 p.m., chiefly because Philadelphia riders have told Sliwa's group that those are the hours that prove to be the most fearful.

Members from the Angel's New York City branch will come down to assist members of the local branch for these patrols.

"That's the 'fright zone,' 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., where people basically grab their pocketbooks and no one goes to sleep, not even for a second," Sliwa said. "Our presence will be highly visible, with red berets, red jackets. We are there to assist the Philadelphia and SEPTA police during the afternoons."

Sliwa says the problem facing SEPTA and its ridership is the "wolf-packing" of youths ganging up on unsuspecting riders, like Conroy, 36, a Starbucks manager who died after a beating by a gang of teens in the subway concourse at 13th and Market streets. One youth has been arrested; four others are being sought.

"Teenagers are now emboldened; they will pick on anybody, and not worry about it, because they know there's not enough police to go around, and there's no camera system," Sliwa said. "They know no one's watching them."

And that, Sliwa says, is a big part of the problem, and why he has pledged that his group will stay on the job until SEPTA installs cameras that are working, and have people watching them.

"Cameras are so important; kids know there's no cameras [in the subway system]," said Sliwa, noting that Chicago runs a camera system on its transit lines similar to what's planned here. "It's even better to have retired cops watching. If you don't have people actually monitoring the screens, kids are going to know it's still a fake."

SEPTA officials have said they hope to have the first phase of a $90 million monitoring system with cameras by next year.

But even Sliwa knows the Angels can only do so much; to that end, he offerred tips that citizens can use to become savvy riders.

"First, between 1 to 5, you are out of your mind to use headphones, which disconnect you from your surroundings," Sliwa said. "These kids grew up in the i- Pod generation, so they know how disconnected you are and will sucker-punch you and you won't even know [they were coming for you]."

Second, according to Sliwa, is to leave that train or platform as soon as one sees youths beginning to form a pack and become rowdy.

And Sliwa's third recommendation really boils down to human kindness, especially in the case of Conroy.

"We know people saw [the group that killed Conroy]; not everyone is physically able to jump in, but you can make noise, cause a distraction, anything to thwart the attack," Sliwa said. "Some people are uncomfortable about jumping in physically, but take cell phone pictures. People now have the capacity to take videos [from cell phones] from a distance, which will be good information for when the cops do arrive." *