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I interviewed Rochester Police Chief Jim Sheppard today about officers and firefighters getting scammed by a Tennessee photography company. Members of local law enforcement agencies sat for portraits in 2010 that never arrived. Some people spent $100 or more on packages. The chief himself was among the victims.

The story raised questions about the judgment of local police and fire chiefs. It’s a little strange that an out-of-town company was hired for the work. It’s also weird anyone would try to scam cops.

After the interview, I asked the chief about safety outside MCC’s downtown campus at the Sibley Building on East Main Street. In a blow to downtown’s image, MCC opted to move to Kodak, citing safety concerns.

“Downtown is the safest part of the city,” Sheppard said. He said the department has done a lot to improve safety on Main Street. There are now officers assigned downtown and buses for high school students have been rerouted away from Main Street.

Ironically, less than an hour after I left, a 20-year-old man was stabbed right outside the doors of MCC’s Main Street entrance. The victim does not appear to be a student.

The stabbing happened right as MCC is trying to prove its case about the area’s safety. These incidents might be isolated, but they get publicity and make the city’s job of selling downtown much harder.

4 Responses to Right on Cue: Stabbing Outside MCC’s Downtown Campus

  1. >> “Downtown is the safest part of the city,”
    Rather than an endorsement of downtown, that’s more of an indictment of the rest of the city.

  2. December 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm PJ Birkman responds:

    “’Downtown is the safest part of the city,’
    Rather than an endorsement of downtown, that’s more of an indictment of the rest of the city.”

    Only if you’re foolish enough or biased enough to believe that the entire city is dangerous and crime ridden no matter what statistics or those who live there tell you. My own city neighborhood is quite safe and most of the rare fights or other violent events are the product of those who enjoy one of our many fine bars and restaurants a bit too much. We still have more violence than downtown because it is a 24hour neighborhood drawing lots of people to those bars and restaurants at night with the aforementioned occasional drunken fight, filled with residents who sometimes get involved in domestic disputes and do other stupid things. As opposed to downtown which has a lot of traffic and police presence during the day (which deters crime) and is mostly empty at night (although this is changing with the growth of downtown housing) meaning there are few victims or perpetrators. I know you want to believe that all of downtown is like the one block of East Main with the school kids causing trouble and that there are constant violent crimes going unreported in the media, but that’s simply not true.

  3. It will be costly to police any downtown location for MCC.

    One incident right after that statement is ironic, however “Police say the victim and suspect got into an argument moments before the stabbing. ”

    Perhaps some lessons about Respect, de-escalation, or walking away from people too angry to reason, could solve things like that from happening. Assuming of course one of the people in the argument was a student willing to learn.

  4. My thoughts….in regards to safety downtown, it only makes sense that if you lessen the crowd, you limit the chances for confrontation and ultimately violence. Moving MCC to the former Kodak location is a no-brainer IF your concerns are to provide an education to the people of the city in a non-confrontational environment. If your concerns are to appease the people who contribute to your political base and provide them tax free property and excessive rents, then the Sibley building is your place. Chief Shepard knows what he has to say to keep his job.

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