ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Congressman and Republican Party nominee for governor Lee Zeldin addressed public safety in New York during a Thursday afternoon press conference in Rochester.

The congressman was joined by Republican Party nominee for lieutenant governor Alison Esposito and Republican Senate Nominee Joe Pinion. They spoke at the intersection of Winton and Blossom Road — the same location where a smash and grab inside a Tops Gas Station took place early Saturday morning.

Zeldin said that crimes such as the smash and grab too often go unnoticed or unreported, causing people to become numb to crime.

“We often hear of particular types of crimes that get committed and too often it’s forgotten,” Zeldin said. “That all across the state of New York, we have an issue where New Yorkers no longer feel safe on these streets.”

“It doesn’t have to be a violent crime. These smash and grabs also have victims and individuals that are suffering,” Esposito added. “Businesses are going down as a result of this. They’re folding up and heading elsewhere, as a result of this.”

Zeldin also said that the number of people applying for concealed carry permits is increasing statewide. According to him, this means that people don’t feel safe living in New York.

He then touched upon his Secure our Streets plan, saying the HALT Act should be repealed, blaming the law for putting both correctional officers and inmates in danger.

“We should be supporting our men and women of law enforcement, we should ensure that district attorneys and judges are enforcing the law. The cashless bail laws should be repealed to give judges discretion,” Zeldin said.

Zeldin then went on to criticize Gov. Kathy Hochul for ignoring requests to debate him and accusing her and the current government of failing to make people feel safe.

“I’d be happy to debate Kathy Hochul right here in Rochester to talk about crime in Rochester,” Zeldin said. “To talk about the issues important to Monroe County. What better place to deal with issues like what brings us here today than to have that live debate here in Rochester.”

Pinion also criticized Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Joe Morelle, claiming they are neglecting Rochester’s poverty issues and educational issues.

“Rochester now has to wear the unfortunate crown of having more people murdered per capita than Chicago, Illinois,” Pinion said. “Where is Joe Morelle? Where is Chuck Schumer? The answer is down in D.C. doing someone else’s bidding.”

The last time Rep. Zeldin was in Western New York, a man was arrested on federal charges for his attempt to assault the congressman with what police later described as “a black hardened plastic keychain with two sharp points designed for self-defense.”

Witnesses at the time say when the man lunged at Zeldin, AMVETS National Director Joe Chenelly tackled and restrained him, along with other bystanders at the scene.

A Pittsford man named David Jakubonis was identified as the suspect and currently faces a max penalty of 10 years in prison.

On Thursday, Gov. Hochul acted on her plan to standardize concealed carry laws across the state.

Under this new law, an applicant must:

  • Complete a 16-hour classroom and 2-hour live firearm safety training course
  • Have four character references
  • Provide a list of all social media accounts for the last three years
  • Disclose your partner or spouse as well as any other adults, and adult children in your home
  • Have an in-person interview

Those with concealed carry permits will have to submit recertification to the New York State Police every three years.

Rochester police are working with Tops to gather video evidence and they ask anyone in the area who also has video of this incident or any other incidents to contact them.

Full Press Conference

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