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History & Mission

The Development of the Center for Public Safety Initiatives and its Work in the City of Rochester

History of CPSI and Rochester

The work of CPSI began in 2000 with work on the problem of lethal violence in Rochester.  Although related work goes back to the early 1990’s under Mayor Tom Ryan, initiatives continued and expanded under subsequent Mayors.  The focus on homicide in Rochester in 2000 involved a research partnership with the Rochester Police, local probation and parole, Monroe County District Attorney and the United States Attorney United States for the Western District, under what was known as the Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative (SACSI).

 The SACSI work led directly to the reformulation of crime analysis at RPD which was eventually the model for the Monroe Crime Analysis Center (MCAC) and other analysis centers across the state and are supported by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services.  The local analysis center’s key staff began as RIT students working for CPSI. CPSI continues to support crime analysis in Rochester with eight full time employees currently working at MCAC with funding from the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). The SACSI has also produced several other benefits for Rochester, and became institutionalized with federal funding from Project Safe Neighborhoods.

Funding for Rochester Projects

As the fiscal agent for many projects, CPSI brought funding to local agencies in the amount of 10.8 million dollars over the past 8 years to help address the issue of violence and crime in Rochester.

Through the US Department of Justice, CPSI also brought funding for the Comprehensive Anti-Gang Initiative (CAGI).  Of that, significant funding went for law enforcement, principally through RPD; it also went for anti-gang services thorough. We are also working with RPD on a Department of Justice SMART policing initiative involving addressing dispute related violence in Rochester.

For a complete list of partner CPSI works with please refer to the "Sponsor and Partners" page of this website.

Local Research and Evaluation Projects by CPSI

CPSI is focused on conducting locally relevant research.  In addition to securing funding for local Rochester area government and not-for-profit organization projects, CPSI continuously conducts local research for use by its partner agencies and organizations and the public as well.  Some of this research is funded through Project Impact from DCJS through the Rochester Police Department.  These funds are primarily used to support student researchers who gain valuable research and practical experience. With their work at the crime analysis center and RPD it seems likely that some of the students will go on to make further contributions through employment with the city as other CPSI researchers have. The projects completed under this effort are reflected in the “Working Papers” sections on our website.

All of the research done through CPSI is intended to provide useful and practical knowledge to assist in addressing public safety concerns in the community.  The research is made available through the working papers and is widely presented and discussed in the community by the researchers and others from CPSI.  The research partnership between CPSI and the Rochester Police Department and other local agencies and organizations has been recognized as a model research partnership by the National Institute of Justice. 

Core Values of CPSI 

That an individual's compassion and empathy for others obligates one to a commitment to the cause of social justice.

That citizens deserve public institution that operate efficiently, effectively, and transparently, leveraging best practices in an unyielding effort to improve.

That everyone, regardless of race, sex, gender identity, sexual preference, economic class, or other category, deserves a safe community to live in, and to live free from fear of victimization.

That the world is not just, and is not safe, and is not free from victimization, so we must find ways to change those conditions.

That if you are an academic, and you care about social justice, you must find ways to engage practitioners to do work that helps them, and that if you are a practitioner, you must seek out ways to improve your organization through research and analysis.

That to make these changes, research should be action-oriented, so that it can be applied to practical problems of the real world. 

That science can be used for great good, but can also be manipulated, so your work must always be methodologically rigorous and of the highest ethical standard.

That you do good work because you care about the work. That you don't have to be the smartest to succeed, you just have to be passionate and willing to work harder than others. 

And lastly, but perhaps most importantly, that you seek to change the world not only by influencing organizations and systems, but by enlisting people to the cause through teaching and mentorship.