ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — 2021 proved to be one of Rochester’s most violent years in history, with a total of 81 homicides. Many fear 2022 will bring the same after the city’s sixth homicide on Pardee Street.

However, some key local leaders are trying to find ways to put an end to the violence crisis.

Local organizations are going back to the root of where these violent actions stem. There are groups who are going right into the middle of it all, disrupting the violence, and others who are starting young in our school systems.

With nearly three deaths every other week in 2021 alone, violence prevention efforts have been ongoing in the community for decades so what’s different now?

Toni Nelson manages 585-SNUG, a violence prevention program working to reduce gun violence by working with individuals who are at the highest risk of shooting or getting shot.

“The shooter is also the next victim. If we can get that gun out of their hand, we’ve saved the family, not just that young person. That’s what we’re here to do,” Nelson said. “We have outreach workers and we’re out in the streets. We’re out in areas that are the target of most of the shootings. And once we get participants, our guys work with them, to help them try to see a different way, a better way. We can’t change their mindset, but we can show them that there’s a different way.”

585-SNUG works to remove barriers that those involved in violence may run into. They provide services to help those who are looking to move on from a violent past.

“We’re violence interrupters, we’re trying to interrupt the normal that they see every day and show them that there’s something different, something better out there, we can help you find that,” Nelson said.

With the ongoing violence, leaders say it takes a mental toll not only on our community as a whole but also on our kids.

“The result of this is our kids are living in a highly stressful world and out of that becomes reactionary to everything going on in our lives, we’re hyper-vigilant to what’s going on in violence, and what’s going on in our community is a direct result of all the traumas that are going on in our lives right now. The kids are reacting. Our kids are just compounded by the violence that we’re seeing,” said William Pearson, Program Director of Rochester Regional Health’s Community Youth Behavioral Health Program.

School systems are using their own approach as well to make sure kids have proper resources to deal with whatever situation may be going on so they don’t resort to picking up a gun.

Tamara Sheppard is a licensed clinical social worker in the Student Support Services Department for the Rochester City School District and said the district is working to put the social and emotional needs of students before a curriculum.

“I think is going to definitely take a multifaceted approach. How do we get in and try to stop those disputes from becoming major issues or people feeling that they have to respond to it in a violent matter? By giving them the coping strategies, the counseling resources and supports, being able to model some of that, and it’s going to take modeling from the school and from the community on how do we handle situations before having them resort to violence,” Sheppard said.

The city of Rochester has seen six homicides this year so far. Last year there was a total of 81 recorded.