Crime in Rochester is at a historic low. You would never know that watching the news, but you are less likely to be a victim of a serious crime today than you were in 1980, 1990, 2000, or 2010. Like every community we still have crime. If we want to do better here are 10 things we can do as a community to do better. Contrary to common belief hiring more police is not an effective way to reduce crime (it does help a little), it is an effective way to respond to crime.
- Affordable housing for all – meeting basic needs is critical for the type of stability the negates a major cause of petty crime.
- Reliable transportation for all – Access to all needs starts with transit. Cars are expensive and many can’t afford them. If you get people to services and jobs it helps greatly.
- Living wages for all – There is no reason why every business in Rochester can’t pay a living wage. The minimum wage increases help but we have a long ways to go.
- Healthcare, especially mental health care for all – Addressing health needs, particularly mental health needs can stabilize those that would resort to petty crime.
- Drug treatment programs for all – We treat drug abuse as a crime and not a sickness, reverse that to address the behaviors that feed the habit. Also understand that alcohol is the most costly of all drugs.
- Universal Pre-K Education for every kid – Here is a sad fact with great opportunity, if our kids are doing well be the end of the 3rd grade, they are highly likely to succeed. If they are not, they likely won’t. This is where the gaps come from. Getting kids ready for K is perhaps the best new investment we can make.
- Quality Schools – We do this well in Rochester, keep it up.
- Accessible afterschool / summer programming for all – The key times to keep kids busy in 3 to 7 PM, give kids accessible opportunities here to take them off the street.
- Address direct and subtle forms of discrimination – Referring to people as “thugs” (code for the N word they really want to use) or takers that come here to leach off us only further propagates low standards applied to a class or people. It is also overwhelmingly untrue. People come here for safety and opportunity.
- Stop doing stupid things. Leaving garage doors open, weak commercial doors and no security, leaving expensive tools out, not securing construction sites, leaving your bike unsecured. Too much crime happens because we needlessly create the opportunity.
Rochester is the safest place I have ever lived, and safer today than at any point in my life. We are headed in the right direction!