The mayor of Rochester, New York declared a state of emergency on Friday in response to a surge of violent crime and a record number of homicides this year amid a nationwide struggle with rising crime rates.
Just this year, Rochester has experienced 71 homicides in 65 incidents. On Thursday, three more deaths were announced including a double homicide, according to authorities.
Mayor Lovely Warren announced the state of emergency via executive order. Governor Kathy Hochul has agreed to send additional law enforcement from the New York State Troopers to Rochester, which will help the city build on the Federal Violence Prevention and Elimination Response (VIPER) Task Force according to WHEC.
“We reached a grim milestone in the city. Seventy-one murders, 71 members of our community who will not be with us as we enter what should be a joyous holiday season. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters — their absences will leave holes in our community and it weighs heavily on our hearts,” Interim Rochester Police Chief David Smith told reporters Friday.
Warren is hopeful that the state of emergency will get violent offenders off the street. The data cited in her order paints a picture of the distressing situation in the city.
Rochester recorded 28 homicides in 2018 and 32 in 2019, according to police data. However, as of November 8, 2021, there were 301 shooting incidents, 360 people injured from those incidents, and gun violence is up a whopping 95%, the order states.
Law enforcement officials already have the names of around 30 wanted suspects, Carlos Alvarado, a public information officer with the Rochester Police Department, told Fox News.
“These individuals have already committed crimes, are wanted for additional crimes and are most likely to be perpetuating the violence we’re seeing today. This action ensures we are doing all we can to remove these violent criminals from our streets,” a joint statement from Hochul and Warren read.
Warren also asked the state for “further resources to provide more mental health and violence disruption services,” noting that, “We must actively attack this crisis from all angles.”
The women called on residents to keep a watchful eye and remain diligent, adhering to “if you see something, say something.”
“None of us can tolerate what is happening. The costs are, and have been, too great,” the joint statement said.
“We’ve lost too many lives, and people should not feel like they’re not safe leaving their homes. This is domestic terrorism, and we must be intentional to have a holistic approach to eliminate gun violence in our city,” Smith told reporters at Friday’s press conference.
“The relationship is what we need. And information is what we need. And we need to send a message that enough is enough, and we’re not going to tolerate this in our community anymore,” the interim police chief added.
The Rochester Police Locust Club released a statement on Twitter as a reminder that any legislation meant to improve the crisis should focus on victims, their families and first responders.
“Support those who can’t just talk about the problems, they are out there confronting the problem. They may not be perfect, but they are giving everything that they have got to do an impossible job, without the numbers and resources they need to do that job…all conversations have done is to decrease the numbers of police officers, and to finance programs that have yet to even start. The first real action needed is simple, thank first police officer, fireman, or EMT that you see,” the statement read.
RPLC statement on surge of violence and the proposed state of emergency issued: pic.twitter.com/gZiQ3ZLsVH
— ROC Locust Club (@ROCLocustClub) November 12, 2021
Mayor Warren’s last day in office is December 1 following her primary loss and a 2017 campaign finance scandal.
Warren’s successor, Mayor-Elect Malik Evans, plans to address the violent and is “adamant” about implementing change, WHEC reported.
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