Volunteers take to the streets for 'Think About It Safe Summer Initiative'

July 13, 2019 11:28 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — So far in 2019, there have been 20 homicides in the City of Rochester. 

Friday afternoon, a group of more than 30 volunteers came together to walk the streets as a part of the 'Think About It Safe Summer Initiative'.


The idea came from anti-violence organizations like Roc the Peace, Rise Up Rochester, Save Our Youth, and Pathways to Peace working with the city and police.

The group met at Hudson Avenue and Roycroft Street. Starting with a prayer circle, volunteers like Sirena Cotton hit the streets to spread a message of peace.

"We walk, talk, pray for the community," Cotton said. "We talk to the guys on the corners we hug them, we love them and do everything we can."

On the walk, the group stopped to pray on Ernst Street where 26-year-old Daniel Sutton was shot and killed Wednesday. Sutton's death marked the 20th homicide this year in the city. Fourteen of those involved guns and most of them happened on the east side of the city.

Wanda Ridgeway with Rise Up Rochester says organizers have strategically chosen locations to canvass throughout the summer.

"We're tired of seeing blood stains on the streets, we're tired of the makeshift memorials," Ridgeway said. "We have lost someone near those locations. We've noticed these locations as troubled spots in the community and we just want to make our presence known and let them know enough is enough."

Rochester Police Chief La'Ron Singletary walked with the group helping to explain conflict resolution and hear community concerns.

The chief says a state grant gave the Rochester Police Department the funds to cover overtime so it can step up patrols in high crime areas. Singletary also pointed out several streets have been reassigned as one-way streets. He says changing the streets can disrupt crime in areas of concern.

"We have to change the game, change the course of action," Singletary said. "Get them off their feet. We can't keep doing the same thing over and over again."

Volunteers continue to ask for community support to end gun violence.

"As a citizen in this community, it is our duty to tell," Ridgeway said. "We're not the ones out here committing these crimes."

The Safe Summer Initiative still needs volunteers. If you would like to join, you can just show up at the meetup location on the scheduled day. 


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