NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The store where 15-year-old Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz was murdered last June has become the first “Safe Haven Bodega” in the city.
The bodega on East 183rd Street is taking part in the NYPD’s new program to prevent gang assaults and robberies.
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“My son would be alive is the system would be there before the tragedy happened,” Junior’s mom, Leandra Feliz, said.
The program was implemented after the United Bodegas of America met with police during a safety summit last month and asked for recommendations. The group is encouraging all 20,000 bodegas to install the safety measures, which involve a six-step safety program including:
Participating businesses will be outfitted with panic buttons, magnetic locks, security cameras, bright lighting and shatterproof glass.
It will cost bodegas between $3,000-4,000 to participate in the program.
“I feel this is going to be … we gonna feel more secure,” said Radames Rodriguez, president of the United Bodegas of America. “We’re saving our employees and our community, too.”
Guzman-Feliz was dragged out of a bodega and stabbed to death by several alleged members of the Trinitarios gang in what police called a case of mistaken identity.
Some residents said the bodega’s owner did not do enough to protect the teenager, but he defended himself, saying he called 911 twice and did all he could.