ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The city’s 30th homicide this year has businesses and residents around the East Avenue block fed up with crime plaguing that now puts their livelihoods at risk.
The popular bar strip has a real diverse young crowd that keeps downtown Rochester bustling, but business owners and locals want the city to step up how they patrol the area.
For years Jeremy Bittle has come through the East Ave. Alexander area where he’s gotten to know the bartenders and enjoy the nightlife.
On Friday he missed being caught up out here during the shooting by less than one hour.
“We hightailed it to Good Luck to try to get some food before it closed up,” Bittle said. “And had it not been for that we would have been here. One of my employees always texts me whenever he sees stuff like this because he’s afraid I’m going to get hit.”
When Kym Reed opened the Blue Marble Hair Salon on the block five years ago, she anticipated staying open after dark to take advantage of the foot traffic.
But lately, she has cut back her hours as trouble became more common.
“I looked forward to being open until 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. like New York City businesses are always open late,” Reed said. “It’s kind of put the kibosh on my business plans. I’m spinning my wheels here and it’s getting depressing.”
Reed and those who live around this block on East Avenue call on the city to return foot patrols, block off the street with barriers and break up any arguments escalating to a shooting.
“I want more beat cops like we use to have,” Reed added. “I want cops that we know by name would be amazing because when you have a relationship with the police force you’re not afraid to call them. If the city leaders are watching we need help, we need support, we need police visibility.”
Each person we spoke with agrees it’s not regular patrons at the bars who cause the trouble.
Still, In front of most of the late-night bars, tonight’s security is also tight keeping things in order in front of businesses.