Increased police presence on Jefferson Avenue to continue indefinitely

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Rochester Police are calling Jefferson Avenue the epicenter of this weekend’s violence.

Between Friday and Saturday, five people were shot on that street. 

The police chief and mayor stepped up the police presence in that area on Saturday.  

MORE: Mayor and Rochester Police Chief address shootings on Jefferson Avenue

With an increased presence, Lt. Greg Bello hopes to send a strong message that the violence won’t be tolerated. But he also said it’s something the neighborhood has been asking for.

“As you can see with the police cars that are out here, there’s officers walking all over this area. It’s not just Jefferson Ave. We’re getting into surrounding streets, as well.”

He said not only have there been shootings here, but there’s also a high rate of stolen Kias and Hyundais.

In fact, police said the two teenagers who were shot on Friday night, a 15- and a 16-year-old, were circling the area in a stolen car. A’more Montgomery, 15, died.

“There’s been quite a few shootings around here since I’ve grown up,” said Carl Roby, owner and chef at GeminEyez restaurant.

Roby said he was shot a year ago outside his business. The violence clearly hasn’t stopped.

He’s especially concerned for teens and young adults with no sense of direction.

“You’ve got to stop the people that are doing the crime, stop the young people, give them some activities to do. Do something. The city needs to get more trades programs: something to get them active,” said Roby.

He said the police presence doesn’t make him feel safer, and he believes it’s not going to solve anything overnight.

“I have to make an example for the young kids, I hope they see me as a young Black man coming through this neighborhood that went through problems too,” he said. “Then I grew. I have to be consistent. If I’m being consistent, I hope they’ll see that.”

Neighbor Baretta Tate said she also doesn’t feel safer with police there. Her frustration is geared more towards parents.

“I feel like the parents should control their children, because then things happen, you’re going to blame everyone else saying they didn’t have to do your child that way, but all you had to do was really control your child.”

Lt. Bello said when it comes to making change, it takes a team.

“What led up to a 15-year-old being in a stolen car?” he said. “And that’s before police get involved. Before? That comes from the schools, families. That comes from the community at large.”

The department said the extra attention on Jefferson Avenue has no end date yet.

Rochester Police have increased their presence on Jefferson Avenue after five people shot, including a 15-year-old who died. (Photo: Todd Hayes/WHEC)