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New Rochelle Officials Meet With Local Businesses After Student Violence

New Rochelle city and school officials met with local businesses following a series of violent invidents involving students on North Avenue.
New Rochelle city and school officials met with local businesses following a series of violent invidents involving students on North Avenue. Photo Credit: Contributed

Following a spate of violent stabbing incidents involving New Rochelle High School students, city officials met with members of the local business community to discuss a series of new police initiatives to improve safety along the North Avenue corridor.

The manhunt for a teenage suspect who stabbed a fellow student in the torso on Jan. 18 continues, as the suspect remains elusive, New Rochelle Police Capt. Robert Gazzola said, last week noting that “due to the suspect’s age, and after consultation with the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, we are prohibited by law from identifying him.”

An investigation into the fatal stabbing of New Rochelle High School junior Valaree Schwab is ongoing, including the alleged incidents leading to her death. Z'inah Brown, also a student at the school, is facing a second-degree murder charge, though more charges may be pending for other students involved in the violent incident.

On Monday, city officials met with more than a dozen local business leaders on North Avenue to “discuss how they can promote safety along the North Avenue corridor.”

“Our message to businesses was that if they see something, they should say something to the New Rochelle Police Department,” City Manager Chuck Strome stated. “We briefed businesses on new police initiatives to keep North Avenue safe and gave them direct lines of communication to the police department and city to address any questions.”

According to officials, new safety and policing measures will include an increased police presence during business and school hours, stricter enforcement of a closed campus policy and a security audit is already underway.

"Local businesses are a vital part of New Rochelle, and today's meeting was an important opportunity to hear directly from them," New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said.

"It was important for the school district to hear businesses' concerns and brief them on the steps we are taking to keep students safe," interim Assistant Schools Superintendent Amy Goodman added. "We are committed to working with parents, businesses and city officials to keep students safe and promote a safe business community."

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