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While fewer shootings in Rochester, stats show murders on the rise


The 2016 crime statistics in Rochester show Part 1 crimes, those deemed most serious by the FBI,  such as homicides, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, fell to the lowest point in 30 years.

At a news conference Tuesday, Mayor Lovely Warren and Police Chief Michael Ciminelli said city crime continues to decline and the Rochester Police Department’s efforts to reduce shootings are working.

“Shootings fell by 20 percent. But, sadly, homicides were up,” Warren said. 

The murder rate last year increased from 36 to 42, bringing Rochester’s year-end homicide total back to the range it had been in 2012 and 2013, and in line with the city’s long-term average.

“Despite the year-over-year increase in homicides, the statistics demonstrate the effectiveness of the RPD’s strategy to reduce overall violence by focusing on illegal guns,” the mayor said. “We’re going to keep going after those illegal guns and the people who use them.”

Summer 2016 saw a decline of 17.8 percent in shooting incidents compared to the sporadic occurrence of fatal and non-fatal shootings between July and September 2015. That violent season was capped off by a mass shooting on Genesee Street, outside a Boys and Girls Club in August 2015.

Property crimes were down six percent and had an average decline of 21 percent over five years. From 2012 to 2016, total property crimes fells from 11, 283 to 7, 773.

Only 50 percent of homicide cases (21 out of 42) were closed by the end of the calendar year, down from the more than 80 percent of cases closed in 2015.

“I don’t focus on the frustrations. I focus on the fact that we’re not sitting back and waiting for things to happen,” Ciminelli said. “We’re trying new and innovative ways to reduce crime and reduce violence. That’s the culture of this police department.”

Expanding the RPD’s Open Data Initiative, an effort to promote openness with the public by providing data online, Ciminelli said, is a 2017 strategic objective for the Department.

Currently active datasets and features, including a new public crime map and RPD training manuals, can be viewed here.

Sasha-Ann Simons joined the team at WXXI News in 2015 as a Multimedia Reporter/Producer. She tells stories about the innovation economy and technology in upstate New York and also does general assignment reporting. Sasha-Ann is the host of Arts InFocus, WXXI-TV's weekly arts and culture program. She is also a fill-in host and regular contributor to Need To Know.