April 2022 will mark 38 years of service by the PAC-TAC (Police And Citizens Together Against Crime) program in Corn Hill. For nearly four decades, hundreds of neighbors have volunteered their time to walk our streets as partners of law enforcement to keep our neighborhood safe.
The inception of the PAC-TAC program can be traced back to the 1970s when Rochester Police Department cost-cutting measures resulted in the advent of single-officer patrols. It became clear that this change eroded efficiency when compared to two-officer patrol units. In response, a group of 19th Ward residents proposed a program, which enlisted citizens who would walk the streets of their neighborhood, becoming supplemental eyes and ears for the police. Their endeavor proved successful, and the PAC-TAC program, under the auspices of the RPD, was underway.
In the Fall of 1983, members of the CHNA Security Committee met to consider a PAC-TAC program for Corn Hill. In February 1984, nine neighbors completed the requisite training provided by the Rochester Police Department, and in April 1984, the first patrols were on our streets. Two years later, in an effort to determine the impact of the program, crime data was collected and analyzed. During the first two years of the PAC-TAC program, neighborhood crime had fallen by a full one-third! PAC-TAC quickly became an integral part of the efforts by the committee to promote safety and security, and provided a visible presence to remind residents that there existed a cohesive effort on their behalf.
Today, the PAC-TAC program is relatively unchanged from its early days. Volunteers are obligated to take a course crafted by the RPD, which outlines policies, procedures, and expectations for members. Once they have completed the course, new members accompany existing members on two orientation outings. Each month members submit their availability for the following month, and an assignor coordinates the requests and sends out the assignments. There is no expectation on frequency or length of patrols, members may patrol as often and for as long as they choose. PAC-TAC also has its own “clubhouse” space, where equipment including jackets, vests, flashlights, and bicycles are made available. Also included are police radios used during patrols to maintain contact with the RPD through their dispatchers.
In these days of busy schedules, pandemic lockdowns, unsettled job markets, family obligations, and many other challenges to volunteerism, an intrepid group of Corn Hill neighbors still steps forward every month to keep the PAC-TAC program alive. Some are relatively new to Corn Hill, others have been residents for many years. All recognize how fortunate we are to live in a neighborhood where neighbors look out for each other. If you see these folks out walking our streets, please take a moment to thank them. If you are interested in participating in PAC-TAC, or have questions, please send a brief note to the Security Committee web address: [email protected]. Walking patrols is a great way to learn about our streets, get some exercise, and meet people. It also offers a real opportunity to give back to our great neighborhood, and be a part of a program that has a 38 year (and counting) legacy of service!