I just got back from the Thurston Road Safety Meeting hosted by, City Council member and Chair of City Council's Public Safety Committee, Adam McFadden that was held about open-air drug markets and public safety issues.

I felt it was a pretty well attended meeting. I counted about 50 people, many who were actively involved in the discussion. What I brought away from the meeting was that Adam personally wants to help make Thurston Road, and subsequently the adjacent streets, safer by eliminating drug dealing, and violence that plague the area. From what was discussed, I feel that if followed through, his idea and plans can and will have an impact in our neighborhood(s). Below is a general outline from the notes I took. For more detailed information, I suggest you contact Adam directly. I know he would love to tell you all about it.

Thurston Road Public Safety Meeting
Wednesday August 25th 7pm
Rochester Presbyterian Home 256 Thurston Road

- Idea that there are many little problems creating a large problem
*Open air drug dealing
*Drug houses
*Late night street violence after bars let out

-Work smarter to solve problems.
*Informing residents what does it take to close drug house/open air markets.
*Where, if any, should new cameras go.
*Create a website to report, track and follow up on problems.
*Have bars and night clubs pay, as part of incurring points on their license, for "event police" similar to the East End.

-Keep pressure on Adam to make things happen.
*Monthly meetings (Third Wed of every month at the Presbyterian Home)
*He will involve the Police Dept, City Hall, City legal Dept, DSS, and others into the process and at meetings.

Adam McFadden discussing his strategy.

During the meeting we all were invited to pin-point where we thought were drug houses, or open air drug markets. Where we would like to see more cameras, or where there is a safe space in the neighborhood.

Contact Adam:
Councilman Adam McFadde
178 Farragut St., Rochester, NY 14611
(585) 428-7538 (Office)
(585) 279-0508 (Home)

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Good luck! I walk PAC TAC on Thurston about every month. How about getting more people to do that? All of these suggestions are pretty worthless. Bars are only a problem with traffic. And noise and only on weekends.

A camera at Thurston and Roslyn St. would be a good suggestion.

The best suggestion is forming block clubs on each street, knowing your neighbors, and reporting crime.

A website is a good idea, and we have one. You will not stop open-air drug dealing, it is impossible. As an individual, that is. You have to have a block club, work with PAC TAC and Crime Prevention Officers from the NSC.
Much more was discussed at the meeting than I could take notes for. So please do not think that, what I posted is everything. Just as each small problem creates the larger one, each small thing we can do, such as walking PAC TAC, help to fight the larger problems. What we have to remember is that we can not do everything all the time. And last nights meeting was a call to get more folks involved in the fight. So let's not knock Adams plan on face value (or based on only what I have posted). Talk with him, give the idea a chance and then as a community we can decide if the plan will and is working.
In addition to cameras, I'd like to see prominent signs that say something like "For your safety, law enforcement video surveillance used in this area," with a little picture of a camera. They can be scattered all along the street. Give the impression that the cameras move around, that they could be anywhere on the sidewalks or on any street corner or at any bus stop, and that just because you can't see one doesn't mean there isn't one on you right now. Yes, it's "Big Brothery," but the streets are not private space and it's reasonable to expect that anything you do on a sidewalk or street corner could be seen by someone else. We need for the people doing illegal things on Thurston Road to have that expectation with respect to law enforcement.
I also went to the meeting and Shawn did a good job of capturing some of the main discussion points.
Adam's ideas are as good as all of the other ideas/initiatives that have been discussed over the years including the following: the "visioning" event, "feet on the street" initiatives, "RAIN", supporting local businesses, etc, etc, etc....... MY concern is the lack of COORDINATED leadership re: Thurston (and other areas), the lack of CITY response to citizen concerns (i.e. trash, code violations, noise, fights, etc) . It was clear from last night's discussion that the "clubs" on Thurston (never thought about them as "clubs") are a significant weekend problem with fights, trash, traffic, etc. Adam doesn't believe that clubs will 'go away' and wants to implement a law/code whereby they will be required to pay for police presence on the street - interesting idea, but my question was why don't police respond quickly NOW to the Friday/Saturday night issues - and, do we- as a neighborhood- really want 'clubs' dominating Thurston Road on the weekends??? Last Saturday I drove on Thurston at 8 pm - there were cars parked on sidewalks and lots of people hanging out on the street, drinking, etc..... young children were walking around unattended. People at last night's meeting discussed witnessing fights on a regular basis and women who appeared to be prostituting (described as women walking from car to car in bikini's and high heels - seriously!!) From what i have observed and what neighbors closer to the 'clubs' describe, there is quite a bit of illegal and high risk behaviors that happen and are apparently tolerated on Thurston - WHY!???? What VALUE do these 'businesses' add to a 'residential' neighborhood!? We now know that the 'traffic' from these clubs is a huge part of the trash problem on thurston - drive down any early Sunday morning and you can see for yourself how much trash is left behind!

Adam says that he is going to be 'personally accountable' for this initiative and that's nice to hear, BUT we have a serious systemic problem if the fate of Thurston Road (and surrounding streets) is carried by a single person. We need a strong coalition that is working TOGETHER on this - AND - we need to find a way to ensure that our local government does their part by enforcing various laws, codes, following up on citizen complaints, etc.
I believe that after Fabulous clothing closes, their parking lot is used by the clubs along Thurston, so your right, the trash maybe coming from that. But I agree that even after the codes are enforced, who IS going to fill that vacuum? At the Thurston Rd meeting it was brought up that about 8+/- years ago when the city came through and took out the majority of gang activity, Thurston was a realitivly safe place. But as we have seen, know one filled in the vacuum, and the gangs, and dealers have returned.

So instead of just focusing on "cleaning up" Thurston Rd, and removing the drugs and gangs, we need to have a solid plan for what to replace what was there. It is never an easy thing, but it can be done. We need to have people who are serious about making permanent changes to Thurston. Not just people walking up and down the street on a given day (even though that is a component of the change) we need folks who are ready to invest $$$ in to rehabbing buildings. We need a strong program that encourages owner occupied homes and apartments. Training for small businesses who are on Thurston Rd, and those who want to open a business on the street. These are just a few things that need to happen if we want real, lasting improvement on Thurston Road. But as it stands right now, all we have a few pissed off citizens, I myself included, who feel like we are banging out head against a wall. But I love my house, I think the 19th Ward has huge potential, and I'm not ready to throw the towel in...just yet.
I drive down Thurston when I can and use 911 to get police there if something is happening. I describe what is happening, where it is and how many folks are involved. Am I there at bar closing time? no. but if anyone sees anything, even cars on sidewalks, and folks in animated discussions that look like they are threatening each other, it helps to get the calls to 911. it's not a solution but it does seem to get the police into an area more often. I also would report unsupervised kids and say that the kids are in the presence of intoxicated adults and want the police to get there before they get shot like the 12 year old in the last couple of weeks. If the police get there when the kids are around, child protection can get involved (and yes they do). Like I said, it's not the whole solution but if we can be a specific as possible in describing the danger and risk, it increases urgency and police response.

Thanks to all of you for attending the meeting. I am doing so virtually as I work Wednesday nights. So I am with you even though you can't see me.
Margy, I agree. Yes, those suggestions are good and it's important to have residents involved in monitoring the neighborhood. BUT...all we can do is monitor. I have a huge problem with the expectation that people who live near Thurston Road will be the ones primarily responsible for crime prevention and code compliance there. I can walk up and down Thurston until my little feet wear out, being "visible," and that won't stop the fights, the noise, the littering, the illegal activity. There's an environment of impunity here, and that will inevitably frustrate all the efforts of even the most dedicated block club or the most active neighbor. To change that, actions need to have CONSEQUENCES on Thurston Road. If your customers litter, you pay to clean it up. If it happens over and over, you're in contempt of city codes and your license is suspended. If you're drunk and disorderly, you spend the night in jail and you get a court date. If your kid is with you, it's a child endangerment charge too. If you're selling or using drugs, you're arrested. If you're soliciting for prostitution, you're arrested. If you're loitering, you're moved along. Those are consequences. Being seen by me and having your behavior reported so it can be documented for posterity is not a consequence. If anything, it's emboldening, because it serves to emphasize that on Thurston Road you can get away with this stuff even if someone does see you.
The scheduled meeting for Thurston Road did NOT happen tonight- myself and 2 other people showed up at the Presbyterian Home- it IS the 4th Wednesday and that's what we agreed last time as the night for this meeting - it was a date confirmed by Adam in his post to this group.
Here's a photo of the non-meeting! (and, yes, I am annoyed at wasting my time on this stuff)

Was running late and called to confirm the meeting was happening and found it was a non event. Very disappointing, like Margy I thought the time and location were a done deal confirmed by Adam.While I haven't participated much yet I am enjoying Location 19.
This was confirmed by Adam in this posting, where he said, "The Streetwatch meeting will be every fourth wednesday at the Presbyterian Home on Thurston Road. I am working on getting an intern to work on our communication and website. I have a major announcement coming at the next meeting!"
I'm sorry Margy! I'm not sure if this was my fault. For some reason I thought it was tonight. But on the bright side, your getting pretty good at this posting stuff! Photos and everything! :)
It was said by Adam it would be every fourth Wednesday .... unfortunately now I will have to reprint all flyers I was planning to distribute for the E2 Block Club, courtesy of our NSC office. I had already picked up ones Kris printed for distribution tomorrow. This was just informational, not meant to promote the meeting yesterday, but for the future. Well, maybe now it can. Well, no it can't, because that is the night the E2 Block Club is meeting. I will cancel the E2 Block Club meeting.


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