Silence Continues To Be a Roadblock To Fighting Crime
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I seen the police approaching the situation in a cautious manner, and the guy was really aggressive,” said Rudolph Redding.
Redding saw police approach an armed man, and he's not afraid to share what he saw.
"Police acted in the right manner. Even though it cost someone their life, they did the right thing,” he said.
Law enforcement has long complained the sharing of such candid information by witnesses doesn't happen enough.
"It's a problem we've really seen increasing in the past few years,” said William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for Western New York.
Hochul says a spike in violence in Rochester – by his count, 65 percent more shootings at this point in the year compared to last – is made more difficult to solve, due to silence.
"The public needs to know, whether it's a matter of doing your civic duty, or sensitivity or humanity to your fellow suffering victim, the public needs to get engaged and help law enforcement do our job,” Hochul said.
"Our perception is not that good in the police. We don't have that faith in them,” said Monteka Cole.
Cole says many in her neighborhood feel the same. That's why they're reluctant to cooperate.
"When you do report something going on, it takes a while to respond. Or sometimes you feel like you're the one that's causing the problem. You're the suspect and you're not the victim. So a lot of time it changes the way we feel,” Cole said.
"When we have violent incidents like this, it very seldom happens that nobody notices it,” said Rochester mayor Tom Richards.
Richards says there's another factor as to why some don't cooperate with police.
"It's often activities between groups of people, so even the people who are victims of violence are reticent to come forward because they're part of a group of people who think the way to deal with it is to settle it themselves,” Richards said.
"You have this image of them in your head, already set and built,” said Cole.
Cole gives yet another reason. Some people are simply scared.
"You're dealing with a situation where you can tell on someone and they can come back and they're after you,” she said.
Hochul says witnesses to crime in truth have nothing to fear, and that the system does what it can to protect those who come forward.
"This whole sense of fear is completely unrealistic,” Hochul said.
"There's good people next door, there's good people across the street,” Redding said.
Redding says it all comes down to trust. To what level it exists can be debated.
"If you feel someone is doing something wrong, you're not going to ride with that. People generally want to do the right thing. People in this neighborhood, I would say... do the right thing."