Governor Kathy Hochul visited the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester, Tuesday, where she highlighted decreases in gun violence in Rochester last year and outlined a $20 million public safety plan for the City of Rochester and Monroe County.
Hochul’s plan is part of her Fiscal Year 2024 Executive Budget proposal and is aimed to further drive down crime, reduce recidivism and strengthen the community.
“We've had too many shootings, too much heartbreak and too many murders in this community. And from 2019 to 2021, shootings were up in this community, 123 percent and murders were up 165 percent just in that two-year timeframe,” Hochul said.
“To bring down crime once and for all, we need to invest in programs that stop gun violence. We need to put more police on the streets. We need to invest in mental health... I believe that a multifaceted approach is necessary over time, and will keep making a difference, but for now, my focus is on simply keeping New Yorkers safe and secure.”
Rochester Mayor Malik D. Evans said, “There is not a governor in America who is more committed to public safety than Governor Kathy Hochul. Whether it’s through common-sense gun laws, unprecedented investments in children and families or advancing the pace of crime-fighting technologies, the governor’s resolve to end violent crime and bring peace to our communities has been determined, decisive and resourceful at every turn.”
Data from the Rochester Police Department show a 13 percent reduction in shooting incidents with injury -- from 350 to 303 shootings -- comparing last year to 2021. Data also shows that murders were down 11 percent during the same period.
There were also 67 fewer individuals injured by gunfire – from 419 to 352 individuals -- when comparing 2022 to 2021. Those declines continued through the first eight weeks of this year, with 14 fewer shooting incidents involving injury, a 42 percent reduction, and 20 fewer people injured by gunfire, a decrease of 51 percent, when compared to the same timeframe in 2022.
Hochul said the budget is increasing. She announced $2 million in new state funding to community-based organizations through Project RISE - Respond, Invest, Sustain and Empower - and a $112,000 grant for upgrades to the Boys and Girls Club’s teen center.
Project RISE, provides community-based organizations to implement, expand and improve programs and services that increase opportunity for youth and families, empower neighborhoods disproportionately affected by gun violence and improve public safety, according to their website.
Awardees of the grant through Project RISE, to be shared equally include Coordinated Care Services, Community Resource Collaborative, the Ibero-American Action League, and Villa of Hope. Each of the awarded organizations will use a minimum of 25 percent of its grant to support grassroots organizations. A total of 12 organizations will receive funding through that grassroots subaward and technical support: Beyond the Sanctuary, A Horses Friend, 9th Floor Art Collective, Operation Go, the Re-entry and Community Development Center, Rise Up Rochester, ROCovery Fitness, Roc the Peace, Saving AJ, Tribe Seven, Ubuntu Community Village and Untrapped Ministries.
Hochul said from data from 2022, that while there are still too many shootings, the trend has been reversed.”
“We've been driving down gun incidents, gun shooting incidents, but I'm not done. Last year we made a record investment in our Gun Involved Violence Elimination program, GIVE. Rochester's one of the beneficiaries of this, the Rochester area will be receiving $36 million, up from $18 million a year ago.”
Hochul said State Police will be increasing community stabilization units, from 16 communities to 25 communities. She said there will also be an increase in the State Police Academies, “making sure that we have the opportunity to train the next generation of people who are committed to public safety and also expanding our presence on all kinds of task forces.”
“This is a moment for leadership. …While there is no perfect solution, we’re listening to the community’s plea to do something,” said State Senator Jeremy Cooney. “And I believe this is a start. We will build a safer, better Rochester.”