"Operation Uplift" was suppose to run from April 1st through October 1st. Members from the City, County and police department go door-to-door acting as mediators for people's problems. But after Mayor Bob Duffy launched his zero-tolerance initiative last week, "Operation Uplift" is continuing past October and the "uplifts" as they call them have gone from weekly to daily checks.
Volunteers from Group 14621, a community association is performing what they call an "uplift". Split up in teams, members from "Operation Uplift" go door-to-door looking for signs of illegal activity and unsafe living conditions.
"Giving the people the opportunity to let us know some of the things that are happening not only with the situation of crime and violence but some of the living standards they have," said Eugenio Cotto, a volunteer.
And it works. Just last week, they got a tip from Monroe County Probation officers there were illegal guns in a Hayward Avenue home.
"I'm very proud that we have had an opportunity to seize nine weapons in this case. I understand that a couple of those were automatic-type weapons or semi-automatic shotguns and several other all fully functioning," said David Moore, the Rochester Police Chief.
On that same day, volunteers inspected 20 properties, vacated 4 homes for health and safety issues, boarded up 3 homes, mowed or cleaned out 16 vacant lots, removed 6 gas meters and removed 18 electric meters.
"It takes a lot more than just those officers walking the beat or riding the neighborhoods or even targeting the bad guys who would harm any one of us in the neighborhood, but it really is about coming together with our partners," said Moore.
“Operation Uplift” members hope their presence will empower residents to police their neighborhood because back-up now comes in the form of regular folks who are walking the daily beat.
As for the guns found in the Hayward Avenue home, police also found five children living inside. Since it's an ongoing investigation, they wouldn't say any more about the case except that Child Protective Services was called.