Councilman Lightfoot says we know who’s doing the crimes so ‘let’s get ’em and get them off of our streets’
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Violent crime has spiked so badly in our city that we are now in a State of Emergency.
The order went into effect at noon Friday.
The main thing Mayor Lovely Warren’s declaration does is get more state police troopers on the task force charged with arresting suspected violent criminals.
When the RPD chief spoke Friday, he had a list of 30 names that he wants picked up.
Chief David Smith, RPD: "I have in front of me a list of over 30 violent offenders that we’ll be handing over to the expanded Marshal’s task force for hopefully arrests within the next few weeks."
Brean: "Do you believe some of those people are responsible for the violence we saw this week?"
Smith: "I do. There on that list because of either felony arrests or weapons possession charges."
The murder count in the city is 71 including two young men killed Thursday inside a downtown apartment building on Chestnut Street.
The shooting started in the lobby and the bullet holes are still there.
The State of Emergency makes it easier for the city to get state help including the new troopers to the task force which says it made arrests in 36 of the 40 cases assigned to it since July.
It does not include a curfew, which City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot said is unconstitutional.
Willie Lightfoot, Vice President, Rochester City Council: "The reason why the curfew is not a good idea is because, even if it was legal, people, we’re seeing these homicides happen during the day."
That’s when police say a man was shot and beaten to death outside the RTS Transit Center on St. Paul Street. Police say it happened in the middle of the street.
Lightfoot: "This is Rochester. This is not New York City. This is not Chicago. This is not LA. We’re two or three degrees away from separation. We know who are doing these crimes. Let’s get ’em and get them off of our streets."
When Lightfoot said that, one man in the crowd at the press conference said "Amen!"
Chicago’s murder rate this year is still worse than Rochester’s.
The RPD chief was asked if there are gangs. He said there are neighborhood groups of young men. They’re not criminal enterprises but the chief says they do have rivalries.
Brean: "If there is conflict between neighborhood groups, what do you think the beef is?"
Smith: "Well these days with social media it could start as just a very small thing and before you know it — it leads to violence."
Of the 71 homicides, 8 of the victims were younger than 18 and 301 have been people shot.
The chief said he wants more parent involvement.
Smith: "I can tell you as a father of five if you’re a parent take a look and check your child’s social media. I bet you would be surprised of some of what’s on there."