Is Rochester's heroin problem getting too close to our kids? Our news partner, News10NBC says a viewer found used needles in a portable bathroom right next to School 20, in front of the playground.
Is Rochester's heroin problem getting too close to our kids?
Our news partner, News10NBC says a viewer found used needles right next to School 20, in front of the playground. The needles were found all over a portable bathroom next to the playground.
Pictures sent to News10NBC show needles all over the inside of a portable bathroom. Our photographer went to the portable bathroom and found the same thing on Sunday.
The good news is the portable bathroom is now gone. We reached out to the City of Rochester after learning about the problem on Sunday, but never heard back. We called city officials again on Monday and did reach someone. We were told the bathroom was removed because they are not needed during the winter.
Kathena Johns, parent: "That's at a playground?"
News10NBC: "This is a bathroom at a playground."
News10NBC: "What do you think when you see this picture."
Johns: "That's unbelievable. I would never let my kid go to this playground."
While this is concerning for the parents we spoke to, they say they are getting used to seeing this type of thing: What looks like heroin needles around places you wouldn't expect.
"You can find needles anywhere -- you can find them at the playground, on the ground," says Harris. "That's disgusting; don't they have anyone who cleans the playground at night?"
We reached back out to the city for a second time Monday to try and get that answer. Remember: the woman who sent us this picture says she took it on Wednesday last week. Our photographer captured the same problem Sunday night -- meaning these needles were likely in this bathroom for at least five days before the portable bathroom was picked up.
In response, a city spokesman said in a statement that the mayor and Rochester police are "working diligently with neighbors and a host of community partners to purge the blight of heroin from this neighborhood."
The statement goes on to read, "The mayor greatly appreciates any attention that is brought to this fight and also appreciates any information to help identify some of the challenges for this neighborhood or any other related to heroin use."
"I definitely think they need to have someone come and check the playgrounds at night," says Harris. "I am not sure how maintenance works around here, but that is unacceptable. What if a kid got into that or something?"
The mayor actually held a press conference about trying to fight back against heroin in this neighborhood three weeks ago. Part of the way they are doing that is increasing police patrols here from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
As part of this story, we also reached out to the Rochester City School District. Officials there are looking into the issue.