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Rochester to Work with Brady Center on Tracking Gun Crimes

Patti Singer

The city is working with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence to learn more about the flow of guns into Rochester. This gun was surrendered during a buyback in 2021. File photo

Rochester will work with a national organization to analyze crime trends and measure prevention efforts against what other cities are doing to protect neighborhoods.

Mayor Lovely Warren announced Nov. 30 a partnership with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence that will help the city understand and then stop the flow of illegal guns.

Warren made the announcement the day before she leaves office as part of a plea agreement that she violated campaign finance law. The plea also satisfied charges in a separate criminal case.

“As I prepare to leave office, I said that I wouldn’t stop working until the last moment,” she said. “There is no more pressing need in this moment than doing all we can to protect our streets, our families and our children.”

Through Nov. 29, Rochester had 77 homicides, including three from past years that for reporting purposes have been carried over. The overwhelming number were shooting deaths.

Warren said that prior to the pandemic, crime had been at its lowest point in 30 years.

“Simply put, the last two years have been unacceptable,” she said.

She said the partnership “will ensure RPD has access to every tool, and all the information possible, to turn the tide and keep Rochester safe.”

Warren announced the agreement alongside City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot and interim Rochester Police Chief David Smith.

The agreement will allow for the city to share information with the Brady Center, including data about the guns used to commit a crime. The Brady Center will use its understanding of gun violence in other cities to provide insight and information that can be used by the Rochester Police Department.

No money is being spent, according to a city spokesman. As part of the agreement, the Brady Center will produce a public report sometime next year, detailing its analysis and provide the city with recommendations for action. The partnership is expected to run beyond the release of the report – the spokesman said it runs in perpetuity – so the RPD can continue to benefit from the partnership.

“Figuring out how illegal guns get onto our streets and in the hands of criminals is key to stopping the violence we are seeing,” said Lightfoot, chairman of the Roc Against Gun Violence Coalition that recommended the partnership. “This agreement will provide the data necessary to do this essential work.”

Incoming Mayor Malik Evans pledged during his campaign to address gun violence, saying on his website“If we are going to have prosperity in Rochester, we have to get a hold of gun violence. Not only is this a social issue, it’s also an economic issue. We have to keep the focus on the challenges that we have here in this community because if we do not, we will continue to see lives lost and lives destroyed.”

Evans was traveling and not immediately available for comment.