ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Representative Joe Morelle held a press conference outlining solutions for bringing down Rochester’s record-high homicide rate on Friday afternoon.
During the conference, Rep. Morelle called for a collaborative, inter-agency approach between local and federal government and law enforcement offices.
There have been 31 homicides in Rochester since January 1, 2022, according to the Rochester Police Department’s open data portal. That number averages out to about one death every ten days.
83% of those deaths are due to gun violence.
“Gun violence is a multidimensional problem that requires a multidimensional solution,” Rep. Morelle said. “There is no simple fix or one-fits-all approach.”
Earlier this week, Rep. Morelle and Monroe County Sherriff Todd Baxter traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate for national tools to combat gun trafficking and commercial gun thefts.
“This isn’t about Second Amendment questions — it’s about regulations of literally millions of guns in the United States that trade hands every year,” Rep. Morelle said. He argued that the ability for police agencies to share information and data on gun trafficking is critical, yet currently unavailable.
Last year broke records as Rochester’s deadliest with 79 homicide victims, and local leaders have been working hard to avoid repeating that in 2022.
During the conference, Morelle said that the vast majority of guns in New York come from out of state, highlighting the need for a national approach to end gun violence.
“We’ll continue to talk to people in congress, in Washington, across the county — I’ll talk to anyone who will listen,” Rep. Morelle said. “It is now the leading cause of death among children in the United States […] We should be, as a country, embarrassed. We should be ashamed. We should do everything we can to protect our children, and it’s not happening.”
The conference took place outside the Kenneth B. Keating Federal Building on State Street.
“I think the challenge has been a lack of emphasis by the Department of Justice to make it certain that there is communication between federal, state and local,” Rep. Morelle said. “But it all comes down to federal prosecution. We are like a revolving door right now — that has to stop.”
La’Ron Singletary, Morelle’s opponent, was critical of the timing of his response.
“As a former police chief, we worked with federal prosecutors and agencies and we were successful, but again, where was Morelle’s voice in 2020 when we had the biggest defund the police movement,” Singletary said. “When I was the police chief I never got a phone call from Joe Morelle.”
You can watch the full video of the press conference here: