Police presence heightened in and around North Union Street due to uptick in crime

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — While enjoying a summer July night on his front porch on North Union and Kenilworth streets, Luis Perez’s brother Sayyos Rios was shot. He screamed for help and then died in Luis’ arms.

About two weeks later, police announced they will be stationed in that neighborhood. The Rochester Police Department has moved its violence prevention unit from Jefferson Avenue to North Union Street.

Marsha Augustin: With the increased police presence in these neighborhoods and at these corners, what do you think it will do?

Luis Perez: To be honest with you, I am going to be frank, it will definitely put fear in these people that are out there committing these crimes.

Rochester Police Chief David Smith explained the added police presence in these high-crime neighborhoods is part of their comprehensive violence prevention plan.

“We do high visibility patrol, visiting some of our known offenders in this area, doing some custom notifications, doing some outreach,” Smith said.

RPD Captain Sam Lucyshyn wrote the plan for violence prevention and has identified problems in the area.

“It’s based on research to show that it works. It’s in partnership with the community. We are focusing on the areas that are disproportionately affected by gun crime.” Lucyshyn said.

Floyd Jenerette, who has lived in the neighborhood for six years, felt safe coming out for a walk Monday seeing police around. He says he has seen multiple shootings in the neighborhood. He knew Sayyos and believes an added police presence will make criminals think twice.

“For protection because we need them,” Jenerette said. “I see death every day, you know what I mean. It’s so crazy! This world has changed. No police, no order. I believe in order.”

But another neighbor I spoke with doesn’t believe it will make a difference: “It’s just that one corner, everybody just goes to a different corner now.”

So how does the RPD decide when it’s time to move to another neighborhood? The chief says he doesn’t put a timeline on these things; he looks at it on a case-by-case basis. With staffing challenges, part of this detail involves using some officers from the Community Affairs Bureau, as well as officers putting in overtime.