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Rochester shootings, homicides drop since gun violence emergency declared

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(The Center Square) – The city of Rochester, New York, became one of the first cities in the U.S. to declare a gun violence emergency.

And the mayor says it is working. The gun violence emergency was extended Feb. 13 and continues through March 12.

When shootings and homicides spiked in 2021, more than doubling since before the pandemic, the city declared a gun violence emergency in July 2022.

In 2021, the city had 349 shootings and 85 homicides, according to city data. By 2023, shootings had dropped 29% and homicides had dropped 31%.

“Rochester is getting safer because our public safety strategies are working,” Rochester Mayor Malik Evans said in January.

Evans said there are three metrics he follows on a daily basis: shootings, firearms related deaths, and homicides. He said the city’s strategy to reduce gun violence is based on “suppression, intervention and prevention.”

“It’s been our strategy from day one and we are seeing results,” Evans said. “Those are three things I look at daily and they have fallen significantly. … These numbers are moving in the right direction. Thank God we are not where we were.”

Among other powers, the emergency declaration gives the city the power to close any commercial building where a shooting has occurred and has been declared a nuisance by the city.

The city averaged 149 shootings a year from 2017 through 2019. But that number has increased significantly since the pandemic. From 2020 to 2023, the city averaged 292 shootings a year, almost double the pre-pandemic number.