RPD team up to stop school teens fighting downtown

Posted at: 10/26/2012 9:58 PM
Updated at: 10/26/2012 11:09 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri

Rochester Police say teens are fighting in the city around the area of the Liberty Pole before and after school.

Police say there have been a handful of fights along Main Street this week. Now the Rochester Police Department is joining forces with the City School District and RTS to help stop it before anyone gets seriously hurt.

News10NBC spoke with police and vendors near the Liberty Pole about the increase in fights. The three groups are working together to figure out the best way to stop the increase now before anything escalates.

Police say there have been about five to six fights in the area this week. While that doesn't sound like a lot, they say it is five or six too many.

Peter is a hot dog vendor. He says, "I don't know how you are going to control it and stop it. You can see for yourself, man, too many kids around here."

Rochester Police say they have seen an increase in fights at the Liberty Pole and along Main Street.

Sgt. Justin Collins from the Rochester Police Department says, "Whether it is weather, we aren't exactly sure why the increase is happening." He continues, "When you have these large groups of kids it does create a problem not only for the children involved, the police officers, but also the people who are just generally doing business downtown."

People like Peter, who runs a hot dog stand in the area, says he has noticed the increase. He says, "I get nervous sometimes when they are fighting that they will tip my cart over or something."

While News10NBC was at the Liberty Pole on Friday afternoon, a teen was taken away in a police car for fighting.

Peter says the fights mean people are not coming to him to buy hot dogs. He says, "They don't want to walk through here-- they cross the street, or go somewhere else. It hurts my business."

Now the Rochester Police Department, City School District and RTS are teaming up. Sgt. Collins says they are "trying to figure out exactly what is the issue and how we can address it." He says, "Part of this has to fall on the parents also to educate the kids who go down there, who take the bus down there, that this behavior is not acceptable."

Peter says, "I sure don't want to come back here next year with my cart, I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to take the chance with it."

The most recent fight happened on Friday morning-- two 14-year-olds were both arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. Rochester Police have increased their downtown patrols due to the fighting.

Fights had previously happened in the same area before and RTS bus drivers cracked down on checking bus passes, which seemed to eliminate some of the volume of students gathering in one area.

Police say that is something they could try to do again.