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The mayor of an upstate New York city that saw violent protests last year has declared a state of emergency over an uptick in violent crime after a record number of homicides this year. 

Mayor Lovely Warren announced her executive order on Friday, with less than a month left in office. The city has experienced 71 homicides in 65 incidents this year, which culminated with three deaths on Thursday, including a double homicide, authorities said. 

“We reached a grim milestone in the city,” Interim Rochester Police Chief David Smith told reporters during a news conference. “Seventy-one murders, 71 members of our community who will not be with us as we enter what should be a joyous holiday season. Fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters — their absences will leave holes in our community and it weighs heavily on our hearts.”

In this Sept. 3, 2020 file photo, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren speaks to the media during a news conference in Rochester, N.Y. Warren and her husband, Timothy Granison, were charged with weapons and child endangerment charges related to a search of their home in May. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus, File)

He noted that three victims died from incidents that occurred in 2020 but that authorities were required to report them as having happened in 2021. The clearance rate of cases for the Rochester Police Department this year is 44.6%, slightly down because of the “overwhelming workload we are facing here,” Smith said. 

In her order, Warren cited “unprecedented levels of gun violence” and pledged to address the issue in a “holistic” manner. She said the city has already “maximized use of its local resources” to address gun crime. 

“We’re witnessing senseless actions of violence in front of us daily,” said Rochester police Det. Frank Camp. “Like many other police departments, we’re fortunate to be able to address these issues, not alone, but with the strength of our partner law enforcement agencies.”

Interim Rochester Police Chief David Smith discusses  a state of emergency declaration Friday as the city grapples with an uptick in violent crime. 
(Rochester Police Department)

In 2018, the city recorded 28 homicides and experienced 32 in 2019, according to police data. As of Nov. 8, there were 301 shooting incidents this year that injured 360 people and gun violence was up 95%, according to the order. 

The goal of the declaration is to get violent offenders off the street, according to a joint statement from Warren, who was not present at Friday’s news conference, and City Council Vice President Willie Lightfoot. Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul has agreed to provide additional New York State troopers, which will be brought in to assist local authorities and U.S. Marshals to arrest known violent criminals.

Authorities have the names of about 30 wanted suspects who are being pursued, Carlos Alvarado, a public information officer with the Rochester Police Department, told Fox News. 

“These individuals have already committed crimes, are wanted for additional crimes and are most likely to be perpetrating the violence we’re seeing today,” the joint statement said. “This action ensures we are doing all we can to remove these violent criminals from our streets.”

The pair also asked residents to step up and report illegal activity in an effort to protect their communities. In addition to the crackdown, city leaders have asked for more mental health and “violence disruption” services, the order said. 

Rochester was engulfed in protests last year after the police-involved death of Daniel Prude, a Chicago resident who was visiting family when he died while in police custody. 

His death made headlines after video footage showed him handcuffed and naked on a street with his head covered with a spit hood. A grand jury decided not to indict seven officers involved in the March 2020 encounter. 

Warren is slated to leave office Dec. 1 after losing a primary race last year and reaching a plea deal to campaign finance charges related to her 2017 re-election bid. 

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