Rochester Mayor-Elect Malik Evans addresses violence, details early plans

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Mayor-Elect Malik Evans addressed violence in Rochester Wednesday and laid out his early plans for his administration.

Evans brought a jar of pebbles representing every shooting victim in Rochester, fatal or not, since 2019. There are about 860 pebbles in the jar, which he said breaks down to 148 homicides.

"I’ve added 380 pebbles to this jar this year," Evans said. "And of that 380, you know, 75 have been deaths. So the question we have to ask is ‘How many more of these are going to add?’ Obviously, I’m not the mayor yet. It takes 45 days — 45 days I will be, but we are hard at work at trying to stem the challenges as it relates to violence."

Rochester has seen a record 75 homicides in 2021. Evans is asking everyone to pause for two minutes on Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving, to remember the victims.

Evans said he will keep Interim Rochester Police Chief David Smith on while he conducts a national search for a permanent chief and that he will announce the firm that will conduct the search soon. Evans recently spoke with former Rochester mayor Bill Johnson. Evans said Johnson told him how important it is to pick a good police chief.

He said he will appoint an expert on violence reduction who will report directly to him, but that he will drop the "czar" title.

"I don’t want to put 75 more [pebbles] in this jar," Evans said, shaking the jar for emphasis.

When he was asked why he believes the violence has gotten worse recently, he said he thinks lack of cooperation with police investigations is part of what is enabling criminals to continue to walk the streets.

Evans said he will continue to hold press conferences periodically until his inauguration to update the community on his plans and the transition process.

Watch the full press conference in the video in the player below (mobile users, click here):

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The Rochester Police Department announced its own plans to deal with the violence in the interim Wednesday, saying "The Rochester Police Department in conjunction with the City Law Department are looking into utilizing the Mayor’s “State of Emergency for the City of Rochester” to address numerous commercial locations within the city that have had a recent history of violent incidents. In particular, those that have had gun violence of late. There are no other details at this time, as we are still in the planning phase of this endeavor."