ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester’s homicide rate for 2021 so far is more than double where the city was at at this time last year.
As of Wednesday night, there have been 11 homicides in the city so far, the last two happening within 24 hours of each other this week, and more than half of which taking place in March.
Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan joined deputy chief Andre Anderson for a press conference Thursday afternoon to discuss the uptick in recent violence.
The chief said the increase in violent incidents in the city is “disheartening,” adding that RPD will address the crimes to avoid repeat scenarios, and that the department went stop until she sees an outcome that’s “minimal to none.”
Chief Herriott-Sullivan said there were 237 cases of criminal possession of a weapon in the last year and 61% of those offenders received $5,000 or less in bail. She also said out of the last 25 shootings, 6-10 of those shooters were on parole.
“How many are repeat offenders, how many are responsible for some of the shootings or homicides we’re seeing,” the Chief said. “If in this data we’re showing repeat offenders who have got previous reckless endangerments or criminal possessions of a weapon charges we would certainly want to work together with the courts to show there’s a pattern there.”
Anderson said identifying prolific offenders isn’t not officers going into the community and targeting people of color or other groups of people, but identifying the individuals at the core of committing crimes and applying resources to remove them from the streets.
He said getting repeat offenders off the streets is a big part of the goal of getting ahead of crime before it happens.
“We’re now working to get the analytics to predict where crime is occurring and when you can predict where crime is occurring the goal is to get resources there before the crimes occur,” Anderson said.
Another key part of the department’s approach is community policing.
“As we get into the community we have more conversations with people that are victims of crimes I’m hoping they can provide more information to us. Now, that’s tough for people that live in those communities but at the same time that’s what we’re trying to do so that we can make sure the community members are safe.”
Anderson also said he believes youth programming with the police and community can reduce crime. He said this is trying to be done through Pathways to Peace, which he said is an important piece of the puzzle.
Following Wednesday’s homicide, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released this statement:
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren released a statement Wednesday night, saying:
“The violence we are seeing in our City and across our nation is beyond reprehensible. While the perpetrators and victims of this violence are known to each other in the vast majority of these crimes. The cycle of retaliation must end. Those engaged in this violence are giving those who want to see our community suffer exactly what they want. It is unacceptable. I have directed Police Chief Herriott-Sullivan to immediately implement additional targeted enforcement efforts to protect our community. I know that she will work tirelessly, along with our entire police department, to ensure the safety of our families and our neighborhoods.”
City Councilmember, and mayoral candidate, Malik Evans released the following statement: on Thursday:
“Nationally there have been seven mass shootings in seven days. Here in Rochester, we have had 11 homicides already this year. This month alone there have been six homicides. This trend nationally and in our community is alarming and heartbreaking. These lost lives are more chapters in a tale of senseless violence that is far too long. Each one of those lives touched the lives of many others, and the toll on loved ones left behind is unimaginable. It also damages our society as a whole. I was saddened when someone said to me recently that violent deaths seem to be becoming normalized. These slayings are not normal, and a comprehensive violence reduction strategy is necessary to stem this carnage. This must involve all sectors of our community and must include conflict resolution among those seeking to use a gun and harm others. In the midst of a global pandemic the rise in gun violence has caused too much devastation and we must do more now.“