Updated: 12/02/2013 6:43 PM
Created: 12/02/2013 5:04 PM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion
Some people who live in Rochester are sounding off about the Thanksgiving Day shootings on St. Paul Street and the violence that followed days after. Their main question is -- is the Rochester Police Department paying attention?
Many residents say there used to be a large police presence in that area but now things are out of control. Four people were shot and another person was ran over on Thanksgiving morning. Days later, police say they responded to another shooting in that same area. Residents say these incidents are nothing out of the ordinary. They wanted answers from police so we went straight to the chief with their concerns.
Chief James Sheppard tells us they are working towards fixing the issues on St. Paul Street. Their first step is zeroing in on a particular bar they believe may have something to do with all of the recent violence.
Right now, Chief Sheppard says he is reviewing all of the documents with the City’s law department. Once that review is over, they will decide whether or not the bar will continue to operate or if its license will be revoked. While the investigation continues for both incidents, police say they have evidence there is a connection between the violence and this particular bar.
We wanted to know what Chief Sheppard had to say about some residents’ concerns they do not feel safe living in downtown Rochester anymore. “I understand their concerns. I think that with my time in the Rochester Police Department, St. Paul Street has been a problem for about 20 years in terms of the clientele and the incidents that occur and reoccur. We are obviously working with the city's law department and we are working with the components of city government. We are not in the business of closing businesses because we want to encourage business but at the same time we have to have these businesses be good neighbors and respect the people who live and have other businesses nearby.”
We contacted the City today. They do have a point system in place for bars and restaurants that may have become a nuisance. How many points that bar has will be a huge factor in the decision making process. Police will also be looking into how many officers will be present in that area from now on.
Chief Sheppard showed us a complaint from one of the bar owners who had an issue with how many officers were present. What’s too many and what’s too little will be something the Rochester Police Department will have to assess.
Residents tell us they have formed their own neighborhood association. They say they have talked about this for quite some time and they plan to sit down with police face-to-face this Wednesday or Thursday.