ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — There have now been 24 homicides in Rochester this year, and with the police department understaffed by about 70 personnel, it’s an uphill battle to stay on top of public safety.

“Eight people shot this weekend and one fatally, is unacceptable. It’s disturbing,” says Rochester Police Lt. Greg Bello.

News 8 got an inside look at Rochester Police Department’s camera room to find out how the agency is using technology to help protect the community.

Operators monitor about 150 cameras throughout the city, many of which are in areas of known criminal activity. RPD also uses Shot-Spotter, a shooting detection software, which can help locate a crime in process.

“When a shooting call comes in, the camera operators immediately start looking at the cameras in the area of where that shot-job is to start looking for any potential suspects leaving, looking for any suspects leaving, looking for any victims that may be shot – it’s kind of eyes-in-the-sky that can get there before any police officer can get there to help us respond appropriately and correctly,” Lt. Bello explains.

Police over the weekend refered to tips and intelligence from the community as “gold”, encouraging those who know something to report it.

“Depending on where the situation is if we have camera coverage, we can start to watch those people at those corners, then if they’re within camera area, you start to build a case, start to build evidence. If they have a gun then we can handle that safely, maybe have more officers respond, something along those lines, that help us to stay safe as well.” says Lt. Bello.

RPD’s camera room is often the first line of defense when crimes occur or tips are processed.

“Victims is our priority. Very frequently we get calls where our ShotSpotter will activate easily 60 seconds before any 911 call comes through for shooting so that 60 – 90 seconds , at times, can be the difference between life and death. Our officers are out there applying tourniquets on a regular basis and providing first response medical care,” says Lt. Bello.

Police are looking for any kid of tip whether it’s specific to a crime or simply intelligence about someone who owns an illegal gun. They say no tip is too small to report.

There are several ways to report information to police, which can be found below:

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