Editor’s Note: You can watch the full press conference in the video player below.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Mayor Malik Evans was joined by Rochester Police Chief David Smith Wednesday morning to give an end-of-year review of the Rochester Police Department.
During the press conference, Chief Smith reflected on violent crime in 2022 — according to Chief Smith, 76 people died as a result to violence — including Officer Anthony Mazurkiewicz. He also noted that there was a 50% decrease in firearm-related violence towards the end of the year.
“Let’s be honest — if we solved all of these murders, we can not get those lives back. Almost all of our murders stem from violent, retaliatory disputes,” Chief Smith said. “People who have some kind of relationship with each other became involved in some kind of conflict and, instead of using words, turned to violence to settle their dispute.”
Mayor Evans said that, in regard to the decrease in violence, he is gratified, but not satisfied.
“We will never be satisfied until we have no homicides,” Mayor Evans said. “Any life lost is a life too many. However, we will stop and pause, and call out when we are seeing progress.”
Chief Smith also announced that the Rochester Police Department recovered over 821 firearms in 2022 — including 58 ghost guns. Chief Smith noted that they recovered more guns in the year 2021.
With all of these numbers, Chief Smith explained that it’s important that these listed numbers must go down, saying that RPD will build upon anti-violence efforts made in 2022.
Chief Smith mentioned that RPD has brought on Deputy Chief Keith Stith to head the Community Affairs Bureau and the bureau is expanding community partnerships with residents in the Rochester community — this includes an internship program with the Rochester City School District to engage with youth who are interested in working in law enforcement.
“As we continue to move into 2023, the Rochester Police Department pledges to harness the power of cooperation and coordination to hold those that bring violence to our community accountable for their actions,” Chief Smith said. “We are ready and willing to partner with anyone that wants to join hands with us to make our community a safer place.”
“As Frederick Douglass said, ‘without struggle, there is no progress,’ and Lord knows that in 2022, we had lots of struggle,” Mayor Evans said. “But the progress will continue because we will work together collectively to transform our city.”
Watch the full press conference
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