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Remembering Carolina Cano

Flowers and a cross mark the place where a woman's body was found in Lincoln Park.
Flowers and a cross mark the place where a woman's body was found in Lincoln Park.

Local residents wearing blue ribbons and wristbands jogged around Lincoln Park on April 14 to commemorate the death of a woman revered as an active member of the community. The ceremony to honor Carolina Cano, who was murdered while jogging in Lincoln Park on March 24, drew several hundred people.

Cano, 45, was assaulted and later found dead in the lake at the center of the park. A makeshift memorial with her picture and numerous flowers decorated a pole near the spot where her body was found.

Megan Carolan, who helped organize the run, said the community was also victimized by the crime.

After the jog, residents gathered near the gazebo on the east side of the park where speakers recalled Cano and her legacy. A short time later, near the Duncan Avenue gate, local officials and church members gathered to celebrate her life with the planting of a tree.

Zenaida Fajardo, a local minister, said Cano will always be with those who knew her, and that the planting of the tree will remind everybody of that. She and fellow church members said Cano was dedicated to God and was a positive influence on young people.

“But it’s important that if you see something, you must do something, call the police,” she said. “We do not want this to happen again.”

Not a high crime area

Hudson County Freeholder Bill O’Dea, who was present but spoke only during the tree planting, said this was the first murder in the park in more than 25 years. “There is not a lot of crime in Lincoln Park,” he said. “If you leave a backpack unattended, someone might take that. But for the most part, we have nothing like this here.”

But people have drowned in the pond, including an intoxicated person was recovered about a decade ago.

“This has brought the neighborhood together on both sides of the park,”  said Jersey City Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey. “Many people didn’t know her, but they came out anyway.”

Groups of residents started a neighborhood watch. “It started as a Facebook page,” Prinz-Arey said. “But they met recently.”

She said she was pleased by the county’s quick response in setting up safety measures.

New cameras and lighting

Ron Edwards, director of the Hudson County Department of Corrections, said the county has already started to install new safety equipment in the park as well as better lighting, and not just in Lincoln Park.

“We’re looking at similar spots in the other large county parks in Bayonne and North Bergen,” Edwards said. “We will get to the smaller parks as well.” In conjunction with PSE&G, the county is also installing increased lighting in areas of the park that do not have enough.

Edwards said the first of seven cameras has been installed in the dog run area of Lincoln Park with more cameras planned for other areas of the park. The park had security cameras installed in the past. The new cameras, one donated by PSE&G and six others budgeted by the freeholders, will augment the existing system.

Edwards said he and his staff looked at a similar system of boxes and cameras that is currently employed in Kean University in Union.

Calling for help 

Seven blue light stations, Edwards said, will allow people to have immediate contact with the Hudson County Sheriff’s office and a live operator.

“One of the good things is that Lincoln Park is a staging area for EMS, so that if there is a medical emergency and someone calls using the blue boxes, they will get an almost immediate response,” he said.

For updates on this and other stories check hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Al Sullivan can be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com

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