The purpose of this thesis was to examine the issue of gun violence, specifically urban gun violence in the city of Rochester, New York. The goal was to gain an understanding of the circumstances surrounding these shootings and to learn how to potentially reduce these types of incidents. In order to do this, we created a database containing over 200 different variables covering incident information, victim/suspect information, weapons information, circumstances, and outcome of the investigation. All fatal and non-fatal shootings in the City of Rochester between years 2010 and 2012 were entered into this database. These three years’ worth of data were then analyzed. One of the most notable findings included the large proportion of shootings that were identified as being the result of some type of dispute. It was also found that over half of the shootings had some degree of gang involvement, and the overwhelming majority of all shootings in the study were carried out by handguns. Additionally, less than half of the victims claimed to not know their attacker. Based on this information, it is safe to say that most shootings in Rochester are not random; there is likely a precursor or series of events leading up to the shooting. This tells us that intervention is possible if we identify ongoing disputes that are escalating in violence. Once we identify the violent disputes, we can focus police, social, and political resources in those acute areas and groups. This project helped to secure funding for these exact types of programs through the New York State Gun Involved Violence Elimination (GIVE) initiative, as well as the Smart Policing Initiative (SPI) Violent Retaliatory Dispute Project.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Assault and battery--Prevention; Drive-by shootings--Prevention; Crime prevention--New York (State)--Rochester; Gun control--New York (State)--Rochester; Youth and violence--New York (State)--Rochester

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Criminal Justice (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Department of Criminal Justice (CLA)


John Klofas

Advisor/Committee Member

Irshad Altheimer

Advisor/Committee Member

Jason Scott


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes