By Seth Daniel
On the week that Jimmy Vasquez was murdered (Jan. 13) on Shurtleff Street, the City was beginning a major investment in youth street workers and other resources.
One Youth Navigator, contracted by the City through the Chelsea Collaborative, had started the Monday after the tragic killing.
It highlights a good deal of frustrations that City leaders, police and youth activists have when it come to trying to address the heartbreaking street violence that flares up in Chelsea from time to time. It seems no matter how many resources are put into the problem, sometimes it seems the situation can’t be solved.
“We continue to invest a lot of money in walking patrols and public safety,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We’re don’t a lot to try to target this group of young people. There’s no magic solution. We hope all the efforts we try in combination over time will help kids not turn to gun to solve their problems. Given the numbers of guns on the street, I can’t say whether incidents like this couldn’t happen again at any time despite our best efforts.”
The City has hired a Youth Navigator to work with kids that are at risk of getting involved in street violence directly or indirectly. In fact, that Navigator began working this month.
It came via a U.S. Justice Department grant of $1 million to help deal with problems facing unaccompanied youths who had crossed the border and come to Chelsea from Central America.
He said they’ve also hired a social worker from Roca to be at Chelsea High School to work with those same young people.
He said they will continue to prioritize resources like Youth Navigators and Police walking patrols, but only time will tell if those solutions will bring an end to the violence.