South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

 
 

By Margaret Smyka
Contributing Writer 

Public Safety Council takes road show to Carrick first

 

March 22, 2011



The traveling Zone 3 Public Safety Council monthly meeting made a stop in Carrick/Overbrook on March 16, drawing about 40 residents, business owners, and officials to the Stewart Ave. Lutheran Church.

Ken Wolfe, council president, briefly discussed the Pittsburgh Community Safety website, www.communitysafety.pittsburghpa.gov, which provides community messages and the latest police alerts.

Crime tips can also be submitted via the website.

However, if anyone wishes to remain anonymous, tips may be relayed: by calling 412-323-7800; by calling 311; or by completing a silent complaint form.

The website also contains the police incident blotter of incidents of the past seven days.

"This is a great tool," said Mr. Wolfe of the website.

Those who would like their block watch or another organization listed on the website, should contact Zone 3 crime prevention Officer Christine Luffey at 412-488-8425.

City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak delivered a brief update of current and pending activities.

Installation of 4,000 LED street lights in all of Pittsburgh's business districts, including Carrick, is expected to begin this fall if all goes smoothly. All business districts should have the new, brighter, and safer lighting by the end of 2012.

An illegal dumping clean-up will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 9. Lunch will be provided. To volunteer, call John Fournier, chief of staff to Councilwoman Rudiak, at 412-255-2131.

A regional environmental survey revealed that Carrick has one of the highest rates of illegal dumping in the city.

If anyone witnesses illegal dumping, they should call 911 immediately.

Another upcoming event is a Hilltop block watch gathering at 6:30 p.m. on April 12, hosted by the Hilltop Alliance Public Safety Task Force. It will be held at the Hilltop Alliance offices, 126 Brownsville Rd. For more information, contact Chuck Fallert at 412-956-4386.

Carrick's first Tree Care Day of the year will take place from 10 a.m. to noon on April 23 at a site to be determined. Anyone who is a certified tree tender, or will be by April 23, is urged to come and help weed and mulch trees along Brownsville Rd.

For more information, email sallyjoe@treepittsburgh.org.

In her remarks, Officer Luffey said among all her responsibilities, which include neighborhood issues and speaking with school children, her specialty is animal cases. Anyone who witnesses animal abuse or neglect should contact her.

When she asked if anyone had concerns to be addressed, two parents complained about "aggressive driving" at Concord Elementary School. They said illegal parking by parents forces youngsters to walk into the street on their way to/from school.

The worst times are 7:45 to 8:15 a.m ., and dismissal at 2:30 p.m.

The principal has sent home letters, and teachers try to police the situation, but to no avail. Parents adhere to traffic regulations only when police officers are present. "It's an absolute mess," said the parent.

Acting Zone 3 Commander Lt. Shirley Sloan said she would monitor and take charge of the situation if it does not improve.

To a question about what to do about needles found outdoors, the acting commander said it will be a low-priority call.  Do not touch the needle unless it is on a playground and children could be in danger of tampering with it. In that case, use gloves or some other protectant to remove the needle.

An audience member suggested calling 911 as EMS will be sent, and will put the needle in the hazardous waste collection.

To a question about cameras in the city, acting Commander Sloan said Carson St. has cameras, but the city has run out of money to buy more.

Councilwoman Rudiak said some Carrick businesses have cameras, and she sends that information to Zone 3 should crimes occur in the vicinity and police want to view the tapes.

Regarding illegal dumping, acting Commander Sloan said a resident was assaulted who confronted illegal dumpers.  Instead, 911 should always be called and license plate numbers written down if possible. Photographs may also be taken from a distance.

"Don't try to personally get involved. That's what we're here for," said the acting commander.

To a complaint about garbage collection in the middle of the night of the Long John Silver's dumpsters, she said to call the police and they can cite the hauler. Pick-up is prohibited from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

A Clifton Blvd. resident commented drug dealing takes place around-the-clock in nearby alleyways.

She said while the high-level dealers are always sought by law enforcement, local residents have to live with the lower-level dealers in their neighborhoods.

Acting Commander Sloan said the courts don't always hand down the sentences the police or residents would like.

"It's a revolving door for them," she said of drug dealers.

If the drug dealing occurs on a rental property, the landlord will receive a notice from the district attorney's office. But the criminal activity must be connected to the address.

Councilwoman Rudiak said according to the disruptive property legislation, after a certain number of violations the landlord can be cited.

A paper trail must exist and when the situation calls for it, residents should always call 311 or 911.

A business owner on Brownsville Rd. asked what can be done about local prostitution, which she called a "huge problem."

Acting Commander Sloan said to call 311 when soliciting is occurring and she'll send narcotics and vice and set up a sting operation. Most of the prostitutes have drug problems, she said.

The next Public Safety Council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on April 20 in Arlington at Caliguri Hall, also called the St. Clair Athletic Association, 2400 Spring St. The guest speaker will be police Chief Nate Harper.

A city-wide zoning meeting will be held on April 25. The site has yet to be determined.

 

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