Updated 05/18/2012 10:37 PM
Police Want to Know 'Where's the Party's At'
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Police in Rochester are focusing most of their attention on the city's northeast side. A special detail will patrol those areas overnight.
They're keeping an eye out for unsupervised house parties; parties the one the last week that ended in the death of a 19-year-old.
"When feuding groups show up at the same place, very rarely does it end in conversation,” said Chief Jim Sheppard of the Rochester Police Department.
Chief Sheppard knows if he wants to stop these acts before they happen, he'll need the community's help.
"Every time we've had a violent event, what we're told is that the party started at 10 o'clock. You've got over 100 kids there. Nobody called us when we get there at 12 o'clock and shots have been fired. It's a little too late to be brought to our attention."
Sheppard says police are not interested in people's names. They're not asking them to testify either. They just want to know one thing:
"Where's the party at? We want the community to give us a call."
"We just felt that was a real black eye on our community,” said Gary Mervis of Project TIPS.
A violent attack on a woman in the fall of 2007 sparked a community-wide effort to encourage people to help police cut down on violence.
Now in its third year, Project TIPS: Trust, Information, Programs, and Services is an event where those committed to keeping these neighborhoods safe go door-to-door, giving residents a chance to share information anonymously. It's a model organizers say can work.
"We need to take back our parks and our neighborhoods. This is a beautiful little mecca in a residential area, and it should be here to be enjoyed. not just for drug dealers and prostitutes,” Mervis said.
Those who live in these neighborhoods say speaking up comes with a risk of retaliation; a risk more and more people seem willing to take.
"I am one that doesn't like violence and don't promote it, but at the same time it's here and if some people aren't going to speak up that's their choice, but I would,” said Sharon Terry.
There will be three more project tips events throughout the summer. The next one is in June, and will likely take place in the Webster Avenue area.