On her second-last day in office, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren took another step toward preventing gun violence.
Warren was joined today by Willie Lightfoot, City Council vice president, and interim police chief David Smith to announce a partnership with the Washington, D.C.-based Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The agreement will allow Rochester to use the Brady Center’s national reach to analyze crime trends and prevention efforts in Rochester in comparison with other cities to leverage that knowledge to protect neighborhoods. The announcement is the culmination of work by the Roc Against Gun Violence Coalition, officials said. The original recommendation was made by the Coalition’s Advocacy Committee chaired by Kathy Richardson.
“Protecting our residents and our neighborhoods has always been important to me,” Warren said. “Before the pandemic, we were making great progress and crime dropped to its lowest point in 30 years. But, simply put, the last two years have been unacceptable. Too many families have suffered. Today’s announcement will ensure RPD has access to every tool, and all the information possible, to turn the tide and keep Rochester safe.”
The agreement will enable sharing of information between the city and the Brady Center, including data on guns used in criminal activities. The approach is expected to help better understand the flow of illegal guns into Rochester. The Brady Center will offer insight on gun violence in other cities to the Rochester Police Department.
“Today is an important milestone in our work to protect our families,” Lightfoot said. “Figuring out how illegal guns get onto our streets and in the hands of criminals is key to stopping the violence we are seeing. This agreement will provide the data necessary to do this essential work.”
The Brady Center is expected to produce a public report next year detailing its analysis and provide the city with recommendations for action. RPD will continue to benefit from the partnership after the report, officials said.
This agreement is the second one this month. On Nov. 18, the city entered an agreement with Rev. Lewis Stewart, president of United Leadership Christian Ministry, in a move to improve and restore the trust between the police and the community with the creation of a Civilian Public Safety Interview Panel. Prospective RPD hires will be interviewed by this panel, which will then offer recommendations to the police chief, who will have the final say.
Smriti Jacob is Rochester Beacon managing editor.