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'Stay vigilant,' Activists want Franklin Park safety improvements after Jean McGuire stabbing

Activists call for Franklin Park safety improvements after Jean McGuire stabbed
Activists call for Franklin Park safety improvements after Jean McGuire stabbed 02:19

BOSTON - Ricky Thompson has been spearheading efforts to improve safety at Franklin Park for years that he says have largely fallen on deaf ears. "It's better late than never, not could have, should have, would have, we have to do it now," said the head of the Franklin Park Coalition.

He points to the brutal stabbing attack now on civil rights icon Jean McGuire as a new impetus to get it done.

On this day there was a higher police presence around the park in the wake of the violence. Thompson also has been pushing for better lighting, police call boxes, and now a need for surveillance cameras.

"Events like this that happen you can at least document or help the police investigation," Thompson said. "You can deter some people if they know there are cameras, they might not be so quick to do things like this."

Concerns about the recent violence were echoed at an event to launch a new community center in the Grove Hall section of Roxbury that the neighborhood has been lobbying for years, with a proposal to now name it in honor of Jean McGuire.

Community leaders called on everyone to get involved in finding solutions. "To the residents there's no such thing as snitching, if you see something say something," said Sr. Virginia Muhammad with the Neighborhood Development Corporation in Grove Hall.

"We heard loud and clear the community has to take control, can't sit back and wait," said Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu insists both her administration and police are heeding the calls, not just for safety improvements in areas like Franklin Park but better police visibility. "Community policing is number one and we share the urgency to do more and be more proactive in safety across our neighborhoods," said Mayor Wu.

Ricky Thompson says the Franklin Park landmark was once a neglected area that now is a draw for so many and the city needs to take notice. "Stay vigilant, stay on top of it," he said.

He hopes the watchful eyes that are at the park now will be more than temporary.  

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