Rochester Mayor’s Office outlines violence reduction plan

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — City officials believe early intervention programs will help get at the root of violence. Rochester’s new violence prevention advisor said part of the strategy is creating opportunities in order to divert crime across all ages.

Part of this comprehensive plan is to address issues neighborhoods may face and target gun violence and trauma associated with it.

"We do understand that being trauma-informed is important, we ask “why does that kid do what he does”? But the question is not being asked enough is “what has happened to that young person to do the things that they do,” said Victor Saunders.

Saunders is the violence prevention advisor under Mayor Malik Evans’s administration. He said fighting and ending crime in the city is and will be a complex challenge that starts with early youth intervention and resources, but that’s not where it stops.

“In a small city like Rochester, we have over 1,500 returning individuals from state penitentiaries and with that they’re going into ZIP codes of these areas where we’re having high levels of violence and poverty,” Saunders said.

Saunders points out so much crime spawns from economic issues, so one of his top priorities is jobs.

“We want to offer alternatives for young people to try things they may have never tried before, many of our different community partners and grassroots efforts in the city have stood up,” Saunders said.

Saunders said he’s been in contact with over 50 local organizations to create those opportunities. This plan also reaches inside schools. Organizations like "FACT" Family Access and Connection Team, will be working with parents.

Watch the full press conference in the video below: