Rochester police chief on city’s anti-violence initiatives: ‘We are getting results’

Crime

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Police Chief Cynthia Herriott-Sullivan held a press conference Wednesday to provide an update on the Rochester Police Department’s anti-violence initiatives.

Rochester has already seen 40 homicides this year as of Wednesday afternoon. In 2019, the city saw 32 homicides, up from 28 in each year of 2017 and 2018. In 2020, that number jumped to 52, an increase of 150% over three years.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the city had gone two weeks without a homicide, the longest such streak since mid-May.

“We are getting the results we want,” the police chief said. “We pray and hope that this continues.”

The police chief said between June 28 and July 11 there were 21 shootings in the city, and in the two weeks after, which coincided with multiple anti-violence initiatives, the number of shootings decreased to 11. While an improvement, the chief said she wasn’t too invested in small sample sizes.

“These two weeks won’t show us everything,” Herriot-Sullivan said.

This month there have been a number of anti-violence initiatives in Rochester, including partnerships with local community groups, as well as county, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

“The measure is how we are impacting the community,” Herriott-Sullivan said. “Have we decreased the amount of gun shots fired scenarios? Are we decreasing the number of homicides? The goal here is transparency.”

The law enforcement strategy has been two-pronged: Identify known violent offenders, and, when applicable, try dual prosecutorial jurisdictions for criminal charges at local, state, and federal levels.

“We have people we target,” The police chief said. “And then it’s about how many of those got sent for federal prosecution.”

On Tuesday, a community meeting took place with the Federal Violence Prevention and Elimination Response (VIPER) Task Force to discuss the latest efforts to reduce gun violence in the City of Rochester.

On July 7, U.S. Attorney James Kennedy, Jr. announced the VIPER task Force wont start a 60-day surge aimed at removing violent gun offenders from the streets of Rochester and Buffalo to enhance public safety and reduce violent crime.

“We said 60 days, and mid-September is our goal and focus,” Herriott-Sullivan said.

Kennedy said having meetings with the community brings him hope. Dozens of people showed up for the task force’s meeting. Many said they are hopeful with the work the task force is doing, but they also say more has to be done.

Earlier this month, RPD confirmed it has completed its internal investigation into the death of Daniel Prude. The department has not yet shared any details about the outcome of that investigation, saying only that it is now being reviewed by the chief’s command staff.


This is a developing story. News 8 WROC will provide updates as they become available.

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