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The St. Paul Quarter is filled with old factories-turned loft apartments. The area is a great example of downtown resurgence.

But a video taken from a loft window of late-night chaos is alarming. It showed a shooting, numerous fights, a man kicking a cop car and general disorder. The incidents took place in full view of  police, who were staged a block away.

<Watch and read 13WHAM’s story on the video.>

Many people say the video only shows what’s gone on for years. If that’s true, it’s time to stop it before someone gets killed. What’s more, residents and visitors should not be subjected to this nonsense.

James SheppardPolice Chief James Sheppard did not indicate if he will increase staffing or deploy a different strategy. He said the video didn’t shock him. That means he knew it was going on. Perhaps the department is struggling to figure out a way to handle it. Officers clearly did not have control of the area on the night the video was taken.

Rochester has several bar districts – East End, St. Paul and Monroe Ave. These districts attract people from around the county and are important to the city’s nightlife. Maybe it’s time for highly coordinated bar details. Maybe special taxing districts need to be created to pay for the details.

Whatever the case, it’s time for a plan.

Links of the Day:

– Chicago has very strict gun laws, but a huge rate of gun violence. The New York Times did an important story on why touch city laws don’t work.

– Local DEC officials used to be able to answer callers’ questions. Now everything has to go through an Albany PR department.

– Kindergartners doing algebra? The new Common Core standards are leaving kids – and their teachers – in tears.

– San Francisco plans to spend $200 million on its bike network, with the goal of 20 percent of all trips made by bike.

Albany has a redhead league!

18 Responses to Time for a Plan

  1. “it’s time to stop it before someone gets killed” — someone was killed outside Club Venu last February — see http://on.rocne.ws/WwBMMr

  2. You can’t argue with the facts. The video speaks for itself. The police are ineffective in this environment. They are not respected nor feared. Watch as a young man ignores the police car traveling in the street than kicks it. What can be done? You ask for a plan? I can’t think of any. If the police intervene, they are accused of brutality and racism. If they don’t, they are accused of neglect. If you close these bars, these crowds will go elsewhere. The problem just moves. Government needs to understand that people need to feel useful and have a purpose. My observations and experience over the years lead me to believe that not many in this crowd are actually working, tax paying members of society. They need jobs, not welfare. As long as this government in the city and State promote the welfare way of life, I believe they are doomed to this culture and this behavior as seen in the video.

  3. What is sad is that this happened just a few weeks ago in Philadelphia as well (warning: language)… and in a neighborhood not that different from St. Paul.

    It’s amazing that although 80% of the US population lives in urban areas that more funds aren’t being allocated to assist poor cities for better police enforcement and redevelopment. In the meantime, Rochester should push for a more aggressive Business Improvement District than the current RDDC, and put more private security patrols in the downtown neighborhood.

    This is not just a Rochester problem, but an urban issue in most old industrial cities across the US. It’s time Rochester look to successes in other cities for advice.

  4. January 30, 2013 at 11:54 am Derek Sanderson responds:

    Here’s my plan for dealing with the lawlessness in the St. Paul Quarter: I will avoid the area, as I do with most other parts of the city.Go ahead and attack me, label me what you will, but I don’t want to be around this type of behavior. And by staying out of most of the city, as much as possible, I’m not!

  5. A little late Rachel people have already been killed here. The last one was about a year ago, man stabbed multiple times died a day or two later at the hospital

  6. The East End can get rowdy but not like this. Maybe the St. Paul Quarter should see what they’re doing differently.

  7. Rachel – it’s not alarming. It might be to some who don’t go downtown on the weekend, but in reality this kind of activity has been going on for years. I lived on Water Street in 2008 and most recently in the H.H. Warner lofts on St. Paul Street 2011-2012.

    As a resident, you get used to the noise and the ruckus. And you don’t go outside after 10pm. I recall in ’08 the police shut down St. Paul Street on Saturday nights. I had to duck under police tape on Water Street to get in my front door on more than one occasion. It was really no different in 2011.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m not sure it’s more police presence, or even a police solution at all. (Living downtown, I felt like I was in a police state. There are officers on every corner!) I think it needs to be a cultural shift more than anything else. People need to realize that such rowdy behavior just isn’t acceptable by society. And that’s all I have to say before I start a debate on your blog!

  8. January 30, 2013 at 1:28 pm Peking Humonculous responds:

    So, Rachel, I’d be very interested to read how this video fits in with your statements that the city of Rochester having problems with violence is only a “perception issue.” Or how about the many accusations of racism directed towards people who leave the city to live in the suburbs? So people who don’t want to live around this type of behavior, or have their children witness it- they are racists? They are the ones causing the “de facto segregation” in our city? These are things you bring up regularly in your articles yet I see no mention above of these topics.

    You state, “What’s more, residents and visitors should not be subjected to this nonsense.” But their choice to not live around this “nonsense”- that is racism?

  9. @ Peking Humonculous

    This is no way represents what daily life is like for many people living in the city. Not even close. This is what happens once or twice a week in a single nightlife district in the wee hours in the morning. I have lived in the Park Ave area for three years and have friends all over the south side. I have never witnessed any kind of violence.

    The reason us city folk are sometimes disdainful of suburbanites is precisely this hysterical fantasy you have that the entire city is a dangerous cesspool of a warzone which is simply not true.

  10. January 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm Peking Humonculous responds:

    No hysteria here, ELF, and I’ve been living in the city for over 15 years now. I know what daily life in the city is like. I live here, I work here. So spare me your lectures about what you know I think when you have no idea what I think. (It’s called an assumption.) Thank you. And yes- I’m sure nothing like this happens on Park Ave. However, I read all of the local papers/news websites every day and its rare that a day goes by without at least one troubling incident of violence reported. And those are only the ones that are reported. I’m sure many go unreported.

    • January 30, 2013 at 6:41 pm PJ Birkman responds:

      If you know what daily life in the city is like then you know that it silly to say that living in South Wedge or NOTA or all sorts of other neighborhoods is living “around [that] sort of behavior”, but living in Brighton or Greece or Henrietta all of which are just about as close to some of the pockets of violence is not. And that any children who live in those neighborhoods witness violence the same way suburban kids do – on TV and computer screens.

      There are too many city neighborhoods that do have real problems with crime and violence. But when I hear someone say that they won’t go to a restaurant at Village Gate because of the crime or refuse to believe that my Gates facility has more security issues than my Winton Road location than I have no problem saying that they are mistaken in their perception.

  11. Rachel, this video is why people that live in the suburbs (like me) want nothing to do with downtown Rochester outside of seeing an occasional sporting event, or watching a play at GEVA. This is absolute chaos; no respect for authority and a complete breakdown in social order. You actually feel sorry for the police chief; how can he have any control over animals like this with no values or morals?

    Take a good look at this video again. It is absurd to blame “suburban sprawl” for the animalistic behavior of the dregs of society represented in this disturbing video. As for the posts here that apologize for this behavior and try to mininimize and marganalize it; trying to excuse this behavior makes things worse. This crap is why you will never get a majority of suburban residents to buy into the concept of regional schools. Would you want your kids sharing a classroom with the offspring of the pond scum that acts like this? I don’t want my kids in the same area code as these hoodlums.

  12. January 31, 2013 at 12:19 am lellingw responds:

    The bar scene can be a really bad choice for a neighborhood. Some places can be quiet and no trouble but if the city wants people to live there, they better think of something else.

    I’m glad that people are talking more about the impact of the common core on the younger kids. A friend of mine working the younger kids is seeing kids trying to run away from school and throwing temper tantrums. There is a district idea to expand preschool and full day kindergarten but if the stuff required of kids is not developmentally appropriate, the longer day just expands the torture. Young kids trying to run away from school indicates that school is a horrible place. In the upper grades, it is the teachers who experience the stress. Students might fail the Regents exams but with schools under stress to graduate kids, kids get “credit recovery” programs and graduate. Whether they can do anything well or not.

  13. This is two blocks in the city. St Paul from the inner loop to Andrews and what the video shows looks like Andrews from the river to St Paul. Were talking 1000 feet of street and that’s generous. I’m not saying some areas of the city aren’t rough or have crime problems. But to use this 2 block area to judge downtown or the city as a whole is just stupid. To be honest, almost every area that would appeal to suburban middle to upper middle class people wouldn’t lead you to St Paul st except to maybe drive through. Even then I doubt it’d be at this hour.

    I don’t know the solution for this section of bars. I think police will solve it on the surface, but people will move elsewhere to avoid the police.

  14. January 31, 2013 at 10:26 am Peking Humonculous responds:

    I love how people are so forceful in their statements that not every area of the city is like this. Who the heck said it was? Not me. What I said is that incidents like this prove that there is not only a “perception” of violence in the city- there is real violence which it is reasonable for people to want to avoid. But when you have a bunch of over-emotional defenders of “everything city” involved, they will hem and haw at every little criticism directed at their precious city of Rochester. Too bad. Deal with it. I’ve lived here over fifteen years, like I said. But I have no problem with why some people avoid the city or don’t want to live there. Totally understandable to me. But if you want to go on whining about how everyone is supposedly racist because they want to avoid violence, I hardly think I’m the one with a perception problem.

  15. January 31, 2013 at 10:28 am Tony Mittiga responds:

    Maybe someday the wispy preachers of “non-violence” from the Ghandi Institute, and like groups, will get away from preaching to namby pambies, like me, and set up camp where violence is not just a stain on character, but a way of life, and a very real physical presence.

  16. January 31, 2013 at 10:30 am Peking Humonculous responds:

    PJ Birkman said: “If you know what daily life in the city is like then you know that it silly to say that living in South Wedge or NOTA or all sorts of other neighborhoods is living “around [that] sort of behavior”…

    That’s right, PJ. And all those reports I read about the assaults/robberies taking place in the South Wedge last summer when the bars let out- that was just a figment of my imagination. Or when some of the many friends I have who live in the South Wedge tell me about the attempted break-ins and/or assaults that take place in their neighborhood, well they must be lying to me because they hate the city.

    • January 31, 2013 at 12:20 pm Hahvahd St responds:

      There are robberies/assualts around Park Ave, SW etc, when the bars let out, but those are usually on isolated individuals walking home late at night for the purpose of robbery. This video looks like a bunch of English soccer hooligans brawling after a game in the 1980s. It’s not just one fight that gets broken up like I’ve seen in the East End, it’s sustained brawling, running into cars, and by the way, random gunshots! The difference is, the English hooligans would have been hit with tear gas and billy clubs but as someone said above:
      “If the police intervene, they are accused of brutality and racism. If they don’t, they are accused of neglect.”
      I live in the city and I love it, but you will never find me in that part of the city after dark (or before dark for that matter, I have no reason to visit there).

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