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Crime

Safety concerns raised about Burnaby’s Central Park following teen’s death

Police are stepping up patrols and urging vigilance after the discovery of the body of a teenage girl in Burnaby’s Central Park. As Jordan Armstrong reports, police are revealing very little about her death but they are urging everyone in the area to be on alert.

Questions are surfacing regarding the safety of a Burnaby park after a 13-year-old’s body was found Wednesday morning.

The 90-hectare park in Burnaby has always been seen as a family-friendly space, but Marrisa Shen’s death has brought up concerns about the park’s safety.

A local daycare, just steps away from Central Park, could not believe the tragic news.

“It’s very popular, it’s located in the centre of Burnaby. I was surprised to hear this news and it’s kind of scary,” said Jenny Hsieh, administrative director of the CEFA Early Learning Centre.

WATCH: Who killed 13-year-old Burnaby resident Marissa Shen?

Who killed 13-year-old Burnaby resident Marrisa Shen?
Who killed 13-year-old Burnaby resident Marrisa Shen?

She said young kids are often taken to the park on sunny days, but the daycare will be extra cautious from now on.

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“We won’t stop, but I’ll wait for the park ranger to say that it’s OK and safe to visit.”

Hsieh said they will be more aware of the people surrounding them, and hopes the city ramps up security.

She said over the past years, they’ve found the park to be quite safe.

READ MORE: IHIT and RCMP investigating death of 13-year-old girl in Burnaby

But how dangerous has Central Park been in the past?

In 2005, police were forced to step up foot patrols after a rash of attacks and knife-wielding robberies involving mostly teens.

The year before, a sex-trade worker was beaten by a man with a hammer. She suffered a fractured skull and was taken to hospital.

Throughout the years there have also been multiple reports of sexual-related offences, including an incident in 2007 where a man began masturbating in front of two children, aged four and five.

Another incident involved a man who allegedly masturbated over a woman while she was using the washroom.

But despite the number of incidents, Shen’s death appears to mark a dark first in the park’s history.

CKNW has reached out to the City of Burnaby about park security.

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