RPD’s 2021 data shows violent crime is up, but overall crime is down

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — We all know violent crime has been on the rise in Rochester and across the country. On Tuesday, the Rochester Police Department released its crime report for 2021.

News10NBC’s Nikki Rudd went through the numbers.

You might be surprised to find out crime in 2021 was actually down 11% compared to the year before and down 13% from the five-year average.

RPD Interim Chief David Smith said that’s because of a significant reduction in burglaries and larcenies. However, violent crime is up. When it comes to shootings there were 335 in 2020 and 419 last year. That’s a 25% increase.

There were 81 homicides in 2021 compared to 51 in 2020, a nearly 60% increase. Chief Smith said the Major Crimes Unit has solved more than half of those homicides.

Last year, there were 13 bank robberies in Rochester. Arrests were made in all but two of those cases and those are still under investigation.

Another concern? The decreasing age of victims and suspects.

"This violence is not something we’re going to be able to arrest ourselves out of," Smith said. "It’s based in a lot of social structure and social ills. We need outreach, and we need partnerships to help reach out to these youth who are susceptible to being drawn into this violent behavior."

Rochester’s first homicide victim of 2022 was 14, and a three-year-old was shot this month. It has a lot of people asking what we can do.

"I say as a parent, know what your kids are doing. Be involved with your children," said Smith. "Take a look at their social media. I’m a parent of five and every once in a while I’m surprised at what I see on my children’s social media. We all need to be involved with our children, and we all need to be involved in our community."

One question we get from viewers a lot is about the guns in Rochester. Where do they come from? News10NBC got a breakdown of the guns RPD recovered in 2021.

Nearly 1,000 firearms were taken on the street last year including 710 handguns and 284 long guns. Of those guns, 73 were stolen from areas outside city limits, and 45 were ghost guns. Those are untraceable guns that can be bought online and made at home.

RPD has also been teaming up with the U.S. Marshal’s Office, New York State Police and the Monroe County Sheriff’s office to get violent offenders off the streets. It’s called the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force. Last year the collaborative effort resulted in 350 arrests, and 70 of those suspects were wanted by RPD.

When it comes to drugs taken off the streets, RPD issued 147 narcotics search warrants in 2021. More than 23 kilograms of cocaine were recovered along with 5 kilograms of heroin/fentanyl and 233 pounds of marijuana. Officers recovered $1.2 million in cash, and 163 people were arrested on narcotics and weapons charges.

Looking ahead, RPD is also dealing with something we’re all dealing with across the country: Staffing shortages.

"We know that 2022 is going to be a challenging year due to our staffing situation," said Smith. "Officers and investigators are being subjected to an extra amount of workload and stress. It’s a concern we take very seriously."

That’s why RPD created the Officer Wellness and Resiliency Unit. It’s also broadening its recruiting efforts.

Click here to view RPD’s Open Data Portal.

Watch the full press conference in the video in the player below: