Updated: April 13, 2020 05:49 PM
Created: April 13, 2020 04:53 PM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — The spread of the coronavirus has forced most of Rochester to shut down, but the crisis hasn’t slowed crime or gun violence.
“We are better and we can be better than what we have seen this past weekend and with the shootings that have occurred in our community,” Mayor Lovely Warren said.
Mayor Lovely Warren is calling for the violence to stop after a triple-shooting left one man dead and two others wounded on Clifford Avenue Sunday along with multiple other violent incidents in the month.
Warren said when someone is the victim of a crime, that takes away resources from health care workers focusing on treating COVID-19 patients.
“The person that they are dealing with may be a loved one, your loved one of the person that pulled the trigger,” Warren said.
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary called the violence reckless and said they have a number of initiatives in place regarding dispute violence.
“We prioritize early dispute identification and intervention the idea is that dispute becomes the center of strategic response which ultimately drives resource deployment in our department,” Singletary said.
He said the department remains focused on violent crime and is dispatching more officers to hot spots of violence.
“Firearm hotspot policing, areas where we see a high penetration of firearm violence and targeting firearm offenders,” Singletary said.
Gun violence over the weekend caused a large group of more than 100 people to gather at a vigil and not six feet apart.
“Yesterday that’s what this community needed and that is what we allowed to happen because it was done in a peaceful way and it was safe and we were able to keep eyes on it,” Warren said.
Mayor Warren said after talking with the police department it was a conscious decision to allow the vigil to go on so the community could mourn.
“Given heightened emotions that were already visible and evident early on in the day from the life that was lost and from the people that were shot that day it was better to allow people to gather to go ahead and mourn,” Warren said.
Warren said moving forward large gatherings like this will not be allowed.
“We will tell people they cannot gather at that site in that way any longer,” Warren said.
Chief Singletary echoed Warren and said they are doing what they can in educating the community to continue to practice social distancing.
“We’re trying to compile data to see where we are seeing problems and compile that data and see what we can do regarding messaging and or a new strategy in regards of people not practicing good social distancing,” Singletary said.
He said when responding to violent crimes with the coronavirus pandemic they have put in protocols to keep officers safe and healthy while investigating.
“We’ve shifted roll calls and we’ve also eliminated two batch patrols for the uniform patrol,” Singletary said. “We’ve also eliminated the need to officer to respond to medical calls for service. If it’s a medical call only an officer will not respond to that we leave that up to the firefighters and the medical EMS service providers.”
Both Warren and Singletary are urging the community to stop deadly disputes, make a different choice and be better for one another.
“To take a step back, to calm down, to not pull that trigger and if you need support, we have support,” Warren said.
Mayor Warren said she’s working with other city leaders to create PSAs and social media campaigns on safe social distancing.
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