It is impossible to know exactly how many thousands of people use the Esplanade on an average day for running, bicycling, boating, walking babies in carriages, walking dogs, playing with children in the small areas reserved for them and on and on.
Arguably, the number resides somewhere in the thousands.
During an average weekend of use by the public, tens of thousands use the Esplanade.
Many users are Beacon Hill and Back Bay residents. This is natural. The Esplanade is Beacon and Back Bay residents’ back yard and physical fitness entertainment facility.
The Esplanade could be said to be part of the lives of tens of thousands of Cambridge residents as well as Boston residents and thousands more from all over the Boston urban sprawl. In reality, it is the peoples’ park, a very fine example of how nice a public park can be in the city of Boston.
As such, all users of this facility at all times of the day must feel safe and in fact, must be safe, or something is very wrong.
In fact, something is very wrong when joggers using the park’s pathways are assaulted during the day or in the early evening or even at night.
There have been at least a half dozen attacks during the past four years.
Enough is enough.
The most recent assault on the Esplanade property of a 31 year-old woman over the weekend is an outrage that can no longer be tolerated.
She was apparently surrounded near the boathouse by a group of young belligerent and aggressive young men and was punched by one of them before breaking away from them and running to the State Police barracks where she reported the attack.
It is too late when a runner has become the victim of assailants.
Something must be done beyond the perfunctory State Police pronouncements that all users of the Esplanade must be careful when using the running paths in the evening or even during the day.
The State Police especially warn women using the Esplanade to use caution and to be aware at all times.
With all due respect, this is sage advice if you are in a bad part of town where street crime, weapons use, beatings and stabbings are taking place.
It is not OK at the Esplanade.
Obviously, something must be done that sends out the message that the Esplanade cannot be used as a platform by wrongdoers to take out their aggressions on the unsuspecting.
This could be accomplished with surveillance cameras being posted all around the boathouse and the immediate area and the obvious places where the violent and the degenerate might tend to wait for prey.
It is only a matter of time before someone is severely hurt in an escalation of the lawlessness ongoing on the Esplanade.
It is time to go beyond being warned to be careful and aware.
Above all, people should be safe.