"Shut up crime"
The films Super and Kick-Ass both take as their premise "What happens when a normal person dons a costume to fight crime", although they go about it in different ways. Well perhaps we are now overdue a documentary about this as we can now interview, follow and investigate Real Life Superheroes (RLSH)
Some hand out food to the homeless and if they choose to dress up doing that then where's the harm? The bigger worry is the ones that patrol in a kind of neighbourhood watch on steroids. These are the ones that go looking for crime and are bringing vigilantism to the streets.
No surprise that there are many RLSH in the US of A but there are some here also. (see http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3443305/Britain-has-16-superheroes-patrolling-the-streets.html) and there are examples in many countries:
What motivates them? Are they just Adrenalin junkies? Are they mentally stable? Virtuous upholders of justice or masked vigilantes with no regard for the due process of the law.
What effect do they have on crime? Are they the real reason crime is dropping in our cities? This is one of many such like reports, it just happens to be for my local area http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/figures_reveal_an_all_time_crime_low_1_2293971
Is this the real reason the government are slashing funding for the police, is it the Big Society in action? Is Dave like the mayor of Gotham?, is that the reason we had elections for commissioners so there could be "commissioner Gordon" style figures bringing in Caped Crusaders to help tackle insoluble problems?
Are we set for this to become ever more prevalent, for the RLSH to become more mainstream, all it'll take is a few well publicised success stories I guess. What then? would we be headed to a public backlash, as we have seen in so many superhero films. Perhaps a J Jonah Jameson style figure will arise? At the moment there is little publicity (the Sun aside, and that's hardly a sympathetic piece) here in the UK but the founding of the RLSH enabling project shows that there are a few people out there that would like us to live in the kind of world where masked, unaccountable, vigilantes are one answer to crime. I'm sure that it will not be just criminals that don't want to live in such a world.