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Southeast neighbors express frustration to police

Residents of a southeast Rochester neighborhood where a shooting took place on July 2 expressed frustrations to Rochester Police officers during the monthly meeting Thursday of the Eastside Pioneers Neighborhood Association.

People fired off questions and complaints to officers Jim Novak and John Mitchell, who is an investigator, during the meeting. It was in the community room of Silver Creek Corner, a county housing facility for chronic alcoholics. The association also was there to tour the facility.

Most of the residents' concerns centered around what they perceive as inadequate response by the police to incidents in the neighborhood and police dispatchers who don't seem to take their calls seriously.

The shooting that led to the topic of crime Thursday night happened July 2 near the corner of Second Street and 15th Avenue Southeast at about 12:30 p.m. Nobody was hurt, however, someone could have been — one of the bullets ended up lodged in a wall inside the house of Shalon Schneider. She was not home at the time, nor were her husband and daughter, she said after the meeting Thursday.

"I was picking up my daughter from day care, and I got a call from a friend who saw a news report on TV about a shooting at my house," Schneider said. Although she knew her husband, Jeffrey Schneider, wasn't there, she hurried home to make sure her pets were OK.


Witnesses that day told police they saw a group of black males arguing and then heard two gunshots.

During the neighborhood meeting Thursday night, Novak gave a brief presentation of crime statistics in Eastside Pioneers, comparing 2012 with this year so far. In general, he said, crime has decreased, but many residents countered with a different perception. They told the officers that it seems crime has increased in their area, and they suspect much of it is related to activities occurring at a rental property on the 200 block of 15th Avenue Southeast.

"Every time something happens, people gather there before," said one man, who recently lost two boat motors to thieves.

Several neighbors also complained about police dispatchers, saying they are often rude and don't tell callers what type of information would be most helpful for reporting crimes. For example, Schneider said whenever she has called, the dispatchers ask for her address, rather the address where an incident occurred.

"You have one dispatcher who acts like I'm annoying her when I call," said another man at the meeting. A few other people chimed in to say they agreed with him.

Mitchell told the group that the police department and the neighborhood need to work together to deal with crime.

"But we don't feel like you are being part of the team," Jeffrey Schneider said.

Although he couldn't give details about the investigation into the July 2 shooting, Mitchell told the neighborhood group that the police department has thrown a lot of resources into catching the shooter. He also tried to assure the residents that, even though there could be some individuals in the department who haven't behaved or performed well, overall, he and the department care about the neighborhood.


"I want to tell you guys that I love this city. I have two kids — one playing baseball at a park over here right now," he said.

He suggested the residents with concerns give him and Novak their complaints, that the officers would look into them and meet again with the association.

"We're not your enemies," he told the group.

The residents and police officers discussed various ways neighbors could best inform police about crimes so they can catch the offenders. The officers said video recordings, photographs and as much accurate information as possible are key. However, they cautioned people never to risk their own safety to get video or photos of criminals.

Schneider said she thought the meeting was helpful.

"I think the officers are trying their best to help us out. But in a lot of situations, their hands are tied," she said. "I was happy to get answers about how we can help them do their jobs."

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