RPD Releases Mid-Year Crime Statistics
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
"We've had some significant challenges," said Chief James Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department.
With arrests in only two of this year's homicide investigations, the RPD is on the hot seat answering questions about the effectiveness of its recent "Cool Down" campaign on the city's crime rate.
“There's a group of individuals in this town that affiliate themselves with a neighborhood, Carter (Street)-Roycroft (Drive). They've been involved in a number of shootings this year,” said Michael Wood, Deputy Chief of Operations.
With violent crimes, including homicide, rape and robbery, up nearly five percent from January to June, officers are targeting specific violent groups and claim to have already made some arrests.
"There's probably fifteen to twenty shooting incidents just with this group alone this year. It's consistent with what we see historically with these spikes; they are often dispute-related and group dynamics involved," Wood said.
Police admit officer assignments are focused on responding to areas with the highest concentration of violent crime.
"When bodies start to drop, our focus will be laser-like. What makes us focus our limited resources on a particular place or group is when violence hits a certain level," Sheppard said.
In the first six months of the year, the steepest increase in crimes was the number of shooting victims; Police saw the most notable decrease in instances of burglary in the same time period.
Sheppard says police confiscated 56 guns off the street in the last three weeks.
"A lot of our weapons are stolen in Monroe County or surrounding counties. It's not a matter of a truck load coming from Alabama or Virginia."
Sheppard says most homicides are a result of minor instances that result in overly-violent responses. He says following a zero-tolerance policy as practiced in previous years will only alienate the officers from the community. He says change depends on witnesses speaking up.
"We've had shootings where we've had a hundred witnesses; no one comes forward. There's a number of times we know who the perpetrator is but, without that evidence, (we) cannot go forward with a successful prosecution. We need people to go on paper; we need people to testify," said Sheppard.