Rochester’s crime trend puzzle: Murders down, car thefts up

Report: Rochester homicides down, car thefts up

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A group studied crime in 34 major American cities.

Rochester is first for the reduction of murders and shootings.

But the city is last for the increase in stolen cars.

And the author of the report says that is a puzzle. Ernesto Lopez says murders, gun crime and car thefts usually go hand in hand. But when you go in-depth in Rochester, those crimes go in the opposite direction.

Click here to read the report:

“What’s going on in Rochester is really unique,” Lopez said.

Lopez co-authored the crime trend report by the Council on Criminal Justice. He studied crime in 34 cities going back to 2020.

For homicides, the rate in Rochester has gone down 32 percent, the best of all cities.

For stolen cars, the rate in Rochester went up 248 percent, the worst of all cities.

Buffalo is right behind.

Brean: “Rochester number one and Buffalo number three. Is there any explanation for that?”
Ernesto Lopez, Council on Criminal Justice | Research Specialist: “Unfortunately it seems like it just that wave may have moved to that part of the country.”

Tuesday, Mayor Malik Evans touted the reduction in murders and shootings, all down about 30 percent.

“Suppression, intervention and prevention,” the mayor said. “It’s been our strategy since day one and we are seeing results.”

The RPD data says there are only three homicides in the city this year and they are the three people killed in the crash outside Kodak Center just after midnight New Years Day.

Brean: “When you were done your report and compiled all your data, what did you feel good about?”
Ernesto Lopez: “I think what I feel good about is really is that the trends are going in the right direction for homicide.”

There is good news and bad news with car thefts.

Last year, RPD recorded 3,934 stolen cars in the city.

That’s 327 a month.

For January, 2024 the city is on pace for 124. So, a third of what we lived through last year. But it is a far cry from the 45 a month we averaged before COVID.