Mayor: Police detail on Jefferson Ave. is working

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – It’s been three days since Rochester Police increased their presence on Jefferson Avenue. The detail is a response to five people being shot over the weekend, including a 15-year-old who lost his life. 

Mayor Malik Evans said on Wednesday, the increased patrols are working. He said he’s been out on the street talking to neighbors himself, with members of his senior staff.

Evans said it’s about showing the neighborhood support, in a time where many don’t feel safe.

“We’re just reaching out, talking to the community, hearing what they want to see in the neighborhood, hearing what they’re seeing,” said Evans. “It’s good to be on the ground. Because when you’re on the ground, you’re able to see what is happening in real time. That gives us the opportunity to be there.”

He said the response from the community has been, ‘great.’

“People love to see that city hall supports them. They know that we can’t do it alone, they all offered to help, I ran into so many young people, old people, all types of people, who say they also want to play a role,” said Evans.

Evans said solving violence in the community is a collective effort. Jerome Underwood with Action for a Better Community says he’s part of that. ABC has a location on Jefferson Ave.

The focus lately, has been on teens.

So how do we reach them?

“We need to change the narrative on how we speak about them, and to them,” said Underwood. “This African proverb that we go by, says, ‘The child that is not embraced by his community, will burn it down to feel its warmth.’ We need to invest in our young people. We need to bring them closer to us. Give them skillset for thought process that is positive, as opposed to negative.”

He said the police presence is making a difference. But it’s only part of the solution.

“So we can develop relationships that are much more trustworthy,” said Underwood. “As opposed to just coming in when there’s something wrong.”

Councilmember LaShay Harris oversees the South District, where Jefferson Ave is.

On Wednesday, she provided the following statement to News 10 NBC:

“Our City has been experiencing  the senseless violence far too long.  We need to have consistent police presence in hot spot locations using a true neighborhood policing model. I have been advocating for these measures and have been collaborating with Mayor Evans and the his team to convey what that residents of my district want which is police presence in these hot spot locations. In June, the Mayor and I rolled out the Report it App a tool to anonymously report crime now its is up the Rochester Police Department to do their part with a strategic presence in hot spot locations while implementing a true neighborhood policing model.”

Underwood said there’s been a few community meetings near Jefferson Avenue to discuss recent crime. He said there’s another conversation happening Wednesday evening at the R-center on Flint Street near Jefferson Ave.