What progress is being made against violent crime in Rochester?
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Rochester Mayor Malik Evans has extended the gun violence state of emergency multiple times this year. Monday night, News10NBC sat in on the ROC Against Gun Violence Coalition’s meeting to find out what’s being done about crime in the city.
Rochester City Councilmember Willie Lightfoot started this initiative in 2018 and holds a monthly public meeting. News10NBC asked whether this coalition has been effective in stemming the violence, and how he measures that.
The coalition was started in 2018 with a handful of people attending meetings. Fast-forward to 2023, and it’s made up of dozens of community partners with the same goal in mind — advocating to end gun violence. The initiative includes a 12 step solution action plan that was announced back in October.
Marsha Augustin, News10NBC: What has this violence prevention coalition done to help stop the gun violence?
Willie Lightfoot: We had an 89.9% arrest rates for homicides. We asked for the city of Rochester Police Department to treat the shootings as they treat homicides — to give the investigator a team — and they started to do that, and we saw an increase in the arrests rates for shootings.
Rochester Police say so far this year the city has had 51 homicides. Of those, 60% have been solved so far. At this time last year, the city had 70 homicides.
Marsha Augustin, News10NBC: What do you tell the mother whose kid — or kids in some cases I’ve learned — is one of the 51 killed this year? How do we fix it?
Willie Lightfoot: We are not going to let their child die in vain. Period. Nobody else’s child deserves that.
People are tired of the violence and just want something done? News10NBC asked Lightfoot about the long-term solutions.
“Nobody has the full complete answer to gun violence,” he said, nothing, “This is really an American problem because a lot of other countries don’t have this issue.”
Michael Curran is with the ATF, which enforces federal firearms laws. He was at Monday’s meeting and spoke about new ATF equipment that he says is a game-changer at helping catch those who commit gun violence.
“In the past the technology wasn’t what it is today. We have two different machines; one’s at Rochester police headquarters. So when a cartridge casing is found it can be compared right away and see if it’s linked to other crimes,” he said.
As far as how Lightfoot measures the effectiveness of the coalition, he says they’re creating a public dashboard to provide real-time updates on their progress.
View the coalition’s 12-step action plan here.