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Mayor Evans declares 'gun violence state of emergency'

Rochester's skyline from Court Street
James Brown
Rochester's skyline from Court Street

Rochester Mayor Malik Evans has declared a ‘gun violence state of emergency’ in response to the hundreds of shooting incidents, and dozens of gun-related fatalities in the city so far this year.

Evans, during a Thursday news conference at City Hall, said the declaration will allow him to unlock more resources in response to the problem.

`For example, if there's a particular street that we know is problematic, I can shut that street down. And I will do that if necessary,” Evans said.

Police Chief David Smith said that the department is using state funds and evidence to target problem areas right down to individual streets.

``We have identified the 50 most violent street segments in the city of Rochester.” Smith said police will work to determine what factors are driving the high number of shootings on those particular streets.

City officials also highlighted many programs that are available to keep young people engaged in positive learning experiences this summer, including a summer enrichment program that offers stipends to 150 city youth to participate in activities such as conflict de-escalation and entrepreneurship workshops.

Violence prevention programs in the city include a new re-entry coordinator to help people make the transition from incarceration to city streets and work by Pathways to Peace to build relationships in violent neighborhoods.

Evans said that collaboration with city residents is key to solving this problem and he says he looks forward to change in this community.

Alex Crichton is host of All Things Considered on WXXI-FM 105.9/AM 1370. Alex delivers local news, weather and traffic reports beginning at 4 p.m. each weekday.