A new initiative is underway to make parks safer in Bronx, as dozens of blue light safety boxes similar to ones seen on college campuses are being installed in four parks across the borough.
The move comes after the deaths of three teenagers, including the 2015 murder of LaGuardia Community College student Christian Negron.
“I remember, like so many of you, when the was a time that you just didn’t come to Soundview Park,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., said.
The safety boxes are now scattered throughout the 205 acres of the park, with hopes they will help it shed its bad reputation.
City leaders showed off their new gadget Wednesday morning, with the push to install the GPS call boxes coming after Negron’s murder. He was robbed and beaten in Pugsley Creek Park, found unconscious there 10 days later, and ultimately died.
“In response to this tragedy and to other safety concerns, the mayor made a promise at the town hall meeting that by the end of the summer, we would bring the blue light safety boxes to four major parks in this borough,” NYC Parks Bronx Borough Commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa said.
There are 40 boxes installed in four different Bronx parks, 24 of them in Soundview Park. Additionally, boxes are being installed at Concrete Plant Park, Pugsley Creek Park and Starlight Park, where two teens drowned in 2014 when EMS couldn’t pinpoint their location.
“It’s going to help us locate the victims of crimes and those who need police assistance faster,” said Assistant Chief Larry Nikunen, of the NYPD Patrol Bronx Borough North.
The next phase is install cameras, so police can see a person in distress or even get a visual on a suspect.
“We want to mark sure that we make our parks and our public spaces the safest anywhere in this city,” state Assemblyman Marcos Crespo said. “And that this model can be used across the city to enhance safety.”