ROCHESTER, N.Y. — In response to violent crime in the city of Rochester, Mayor Malik Evans on Thursday declared a gun violence state of emergency.
The proclamation gives the mayor broad powers to protect life and property and to bring the emergency under control. It authorizes the city to dedicate all possible resources to bring an immediate end to violence and prevent it from expanding further.
“What I know that is with this emergency declaration, this will give us the ability to not only marshal other resources, but also be very targeted in areas to stop people from continuing to wreak havoc in our city," said Evans.
The areas he talks of will be the focus of the emergency declaration, using a targeted geographic law enforcement approach in areas identified as persistent violence hotspots, or micro-hot spots, where there are disproportionate levels of violence.
“The main strategy involves our GIVE grant, which is our Gun Involved Violence Elimination program," said Rochester Police Chief David Smith.
The declaration will allow Smith's team to expand its coordinated efforts with the State Police, the Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Marshal’s Office.
The emergency declaration will allow law enforcement to expand on its already well-established GIVE initiative to other areas in the city, including the Beachwood neighborhood.
“We will be seeing the sheriffs, the state troopers on those streets," said Smith.
Closing certain areas, hiring a mental health clinician and applying data from the Monroe Crime Analysis Center to reduce the supply of illegal guns in the city are also part of the emergency declaration.
“This allows us to unlock more resources because it says, if it's an emergency, you get to use every single tool that's there," said Evans. "It's a whole other community approach. So this is no different than if it's a flood. And this is a flood, as far as I'm concerned. But it also means that sometimes you have to do some things that might be out of the box. So for example, if there's a particular street that we know is problematic, I can shut that down. And I will do that if necessary."
So far this year, 41 people have been murdered in the city of Rochester and 444 firearms have been removed from the streets.
“But the trajectory, unless we change something, will be the same," said Evans. "We will break records in terms of the bloodshed and carnage in our streets."