Three ways to stand up against violence in Rochester

Mayor Lovely Warren calls for community to “come forward” as police work to identify and locate shooters who killed three people following a basketball game in southwest Rochester / Source: Gannett, Max Schulte
Last week’s shooting in southwest Rochester was both traumatic and tragic. However, the Democrat and Chronicle reports that the overall rate of violent crime, including shootings, decreased by approximately 23 percent between 2005 and 2014. As city officials continue their search for the perpetrators, the rest of the community must evaluate the purpose and progress of existing activity intended to curb crime and violence in Rochester. Beyond city-led programs, individual residents and citizens must play an active role.

Mayor’s office committed to a new vision of community policing

Mayor Lovely Warren, who enters the third year of her first term in 2016, has already initiated two major efforts to address the needs of city neighborhoods. The reorganization of the Rochester Police Department is at the heart of her administration’s policy on public safety. As a mayoral candidate in 2013, Warren championed the quadrant-based system as a means to empower residents in the City’s most challenged neighborhoods. The move also intends to serve as a first step to bring law enforcement closer to the communities they serve. In her words, “If you go to more of a quadrant model…I think that you’ll be able to get officers into situations where they can have some down time to get out of the car.”

Draft reorganization of Rochester Police Department reorganization / Source: City of Rochester
The reorganization, while vital, is just one part of a broader strategy. When it comes to addressing community-wide safety and resident engagement, Mayor Warren understands that RPD cannot go it alone. In September 2014, Warren announced “Clergy on Patrol,” an initiative to pair clergy members with police officers. Through the program, Warren hopes church leaders, already embedded within their parish and community, will take a more active role to facilitate relationship-building between police and residents.

Thus far the Clergy on Patrol hosted two events in partnership with St. Luke Tabernacle Community Church, Project Hope and Pathways to Peace. On Monday, Aug. 24, the program continued with a group meeting at New Progressive Cathedral Church of God in Christ on 410 Chili Ave. The meeting included a special walk that took place in the vicinity of the Boys and Girls Club on Genesee St. 

Clergy on Patrol is one of several programs in the City of Rochester. Other initiatives include Police and Citizens Together Against Crime also known as “PAC-TAC.” The program, similar to Clergy on Patrol, partners volunteers with on-duty RPD officers to connect with citizens and merchants. The City also sponsors a Community Volunteer Response Team (CVRT), which connects participants to persons affected by homicides. Volunteers may also refer individuals to counseling services.

Volunteer-based programs available to the average citizen

In total, these programs collectively underscore the pervasive effects of violence and crime in the community. Despite the wide-reaching and enduring impacts of such criminal acts, with proper training and guidance, the collective action of committed individuals can advance incremental progress toward sustainable change. To learn more about ways to get involved, please call one of the phone numbers below:

  • Police and Citizens Together Against Crime (PAC-TAC)
  • Community Volunteer Response Team (CVRT)
  • Clergy on Patrol
    • Phone: 585.428.6684 (contact Tracey Miller, Mayor’s Office)
    • Website

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