In Memphis, Tenn., a 13-year-old girl was shot to death after an adult got involved in a dispute between two groups of youths. A surge in July homicides in Washington, D.C., triggered a redirection of police resources. And in Hartford, Conn., a wave of shootings and the slaying of a young teenager has city leaders struggling to understand a population of young people who display no regard for human life. Change the name of any one of those cities to Rochester, and the sentence would still be true. Clearly, the Flower City is not alone in its struggle to bring rampant, senseless violence under control, reports the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
“We’re all seeing the same thing,” Rochester Police Chief David Moore said, referring to conversations he’s had with his counterparts in other cities. “Communities across the country are challenged by young people who are carrying guns and creating havoc on their streets.” A recent federal report confirms what anecdotal evidence from across America suggests: Bloodshed is on the rise. The spike is most pronounced in communities beneath the top tier of America’s largest cities. Explanations include the growth of gangs in smaller cities and the release of convicted felons from prison after the tough-on-crime ’90s. Cities like Rochester are searching for solutions, from calls for community involvement to putting more police on the street.