RPD planning on stepping up enforcement in West Ridge Plaza after violence Sunday | WHEC.com

RPD planning on stepping up enforcement in West Ridge Plaza after violence Sunday

Created: October 20, 2020 06:35 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Police are promising stepped-up enforcement after a man was shot and a woman doused with gasoline at an unauthorized late-night car meet-up.

Neighbors and businesses say these gatherings have been happening weekly at the West Ridge Plaza on Ridge Road—the cars blast loud music, race, do spin-outs and donuts for hours.

Monday night, News10NBC Investigative Reporter Jennifer Lewke showed us how businesses and neighbors are so fed-up, they're moving. 

Tuesday night, she had a look at what the Rochester Police Department is planning to do about it.   

Capt. Nathan Cornell: "It's an easy, very accessible location for the cars to gather and so that's one of the draws."

Neighbors say the cars blast music so loud, it shakes their doors. ATVs and dirt bikes often circle the crowd that gathers. The group seems to like this lot because it's fairly open and has options for a quick get-away when the cops arrive.

Cornell: "When you have a lot like this with multiple entrances and exits it can be a little bit more of a headache."

RPD says these meet-ups are fairly regular and they feel like it's become a game of cat and mouse.

Cornell: "We had patrols in the area that were dispersing these large groups from numerous lots across the city. They were here that evening and unfortunately the officers had to attend to another call and during that short time they were gone the group was able to re-gather here."

This past Sunday, a woman who lives nearby, so frustrated by all of it, came over to the parking lot to record what was going on. She was doused in gasoline and motor oil.  A short time later, another man was shot in the legs.

Carrie, who has lived behind the plaza for 15 years, has had enough.

Carrie: "We are planning on moving this is just too much especially raising a child with disabilities it's just too much it's just way too much."

Business owners in the plaza are just as frustrated.

Matt Reis, owner of Bathtub Billy's: "We have to close by 8:30-9 o'clock every Sunday now so we're losing five hours of revenue obviously it's a big hit."

Al DiPasquale, owner of Skip's Meat Market: "Somehow the police have got to protect these businesses and these people around here and I know they're very busy and I appreciate them but we need to be safe around here."

Police have been very busy lately,  but Capt. Cornell says they are making this parking lot a priority. 

The owner of the plaza has agreed to make some changes to make the lot less appealing for these groups.

"We take it very seriously and we want the public and the residents that live in these areas, the businesses, we want them to be assured that we are working on this," Capt. Cornell said.

The businesses in this plaza are hoping that stepped-up enforcement will break up these gatherings for good but for some of them, it's too late. 

Bathtub Billy's isn't hanging around any longer to see if this works, they are planning to move to the Greece Ridge Mall in the next couple of months.

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