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Rochester, N.Y.� The Rochester Police Department is using a new approach when it comes to tackling gang violence in the city and the chief wants gang members to know they are being targeted.
The department is also using the recent arrest of eleven members of alleged drug ring as an example of how it will go about tackling gang violence in the city.
According to Rochester Police Deputy Chief Mike Wood, the investigation of the group took several months but the department�s attention shifted to them once the group became violent and allegedly became involved in shooting in the city�s northeast side.
�The key point here is that the group of individuals and others became the focus of our attention due to the number of shootings that happened in the city during 2012,� Deputy Chief Wood explained. �That�s the point of the issue. There were shootings going on. There were retaliatory things going on and that�s what brought the attention of that group to our group.�
Last month Chief James Sheppard announced that the department would be handing out letters to known gang member. The letters would convey a message to the gang members letting them know that the police know who they are and that they are being watched.
�It�s the purpose to let people know that one�we know you are engaged in violence and two�we want you to stop,� Chief Sheppard explained.
Chief Sheppard also says that the department won�t just focus on individual suspects in violent crimes�instead police will focus on the suspect and his friends or associates.
�Say we have a singular shooting incident, a lot of times we would focus on the person who did it and put them in jail but what that doesn�t do is change the dynamics of the group,� he said. �Shootings will continue because the rest of the gang is still out there.�
Chief Sheppard says there are currently about six to eight violent gangs in the city and he says this approach to curbing gang violence has worked in the past.