Community members react to VIPER community conversation meeting

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As the City of Rochester tries to find a solution to curb gun violence, community members had the chance to join in on the conversation.

The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York and Federal Nonviolence Taskforce hosted the meeting.

“I came out today our organization working with young people we’re concerned about the gun violence on the street,” Pastor Sherita Traywick said.

Traywick was one of several community members to have a voice and join the conversation about what can be done to get the violence under control.

It’s been two weeks since the 60-day Viper Task Force began.

U.S. Attorney James Kennedy says the main goal is how to improve the relationship between the community and law enforcement.

“I was encouraged by what I heard in terms of what they are doing to stop the violence but it’s going to take more. It’s going to take people in the community coming to these meetings making their voices heard, it’s going to take more resources flowing and grassroots organizations that are actually boots on the ground making this work happen,” Traywick said.

Some said it’s important community members speak up when they know things about a crime — but are concerned about "snitching". Instead, they say change needs to start at home and teaching kids to respect law enforcement.

“We have to hold one another in this community accountable,” Abdul Bounds said. “I am tired of everybody snitching and the snitching thing, it’s holding someone accountable. There’s a 100 of y’all out in a park and shooting rang off and ain’t nobody seen nothing?”

Bounds said he’s glad to see the program here for now and it’s a good start to have an open dialogue about how to effectively make a change and help communities of color and turn the city around.

“Will we work with them? Yeah me personally I will give them a chance, I’ll give them a shot,” Bounds said.

Kennedy says they will continue to hold these community conversations to help keep the community engaged.

He also said they expect to release updates on the progress of the task force weekly.