Rochester, New York – During the pandemic, federal, state, and local officials were forced to make drastic budget cuts to education, youth programs, arts and culture, parks, libraries, housing services, and more, but meanwhile, policing budgets have been constantly increasing. The cost of policing in the United States is more than $115 billion every year, and the cost has tripled in the last four decades.
In recent years, activists and groups have been pushing local, state, and federal leaders to cut law enforcement budgets and use those funds to fund other projects that would be of both national and local interest. Dozens of “defund the police” protests took place across the nation in the period after the George Floyd incident two years ago.
What these activists and protestors didn’t take into consideration back then was that violent crime incidents were rising in many areas nationwide just as the majority of law enforcement departments were facing worker shortages caused by a lack of funding. While some states, cities, counties, and areas are seeing a downward trend in violent crime incidents, others are having a hard time combating the growing number of incidents due to a lack of employees.
Public safety in Rochester concerns everyone. Last year, there was a surge in homicides in the area, and Rochester was ranked among the least safe cities statewide. The number of incidents in the city is much lower compared to some other large cities, but the number of homicides per capita in Rochester is concerning.
A report by Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Public Safety Initiatives shows that Rochester’s per-capita homicide rate ranked highest in New York and near the top among the two dozen U.S. cities studied. In 2021, Rochester had 38.4 homicides per 100,000 people—the fifth highest of the 24 cities tracked by CPSI’s annual report. That rate was higher than in cities often associated with high crime like New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and Compton, Calif., as well as other upstate cities such as Buffalo and Syracuse.
This year, Rochester’s crime problem is not getting any better, as a growing number of children and teenagers have been fatally shot since the start of the year. According to the Rochester Police Department, a total of seven children aged 17 or younger have been fatally shot since the start of this year, while more than 40 folks younger than 17 have been shot and injured in shooting incidents.
A shooting incident on North and Herald streets in northeast Rochester on January 2nd was fatal for a teenager, a 14-year-old boy, in what appeared to be an unprovoked attack. That was the first homicide this year, and nearly a year later, no charges have been filed against the shooters.
Local residents are aware of the issue and concerned about their safety, so they are now helping law enforcement more than ever. According to Rochester Police Department officials, Rochester residents are stepping forward with tips about recent shootings and killings. The community’s efforts are sometimes very useful and helpful for local authorities to solve cases and put suspects behind bars.
Two females, 12 and 14-year-olds, and one 20-year-old male victim were shot and injured Monday evening in what appears to be the most recent shooting incident involving minors. The shooting took place just before 6:30 p.m. on William Warfield Drive, just north of Upper Falls Boulevard. Fortunately, all three of the victims suffered non-life-threatening injuries and are expected to completely recover soon. RPD is still looking for the shooting suspects.