'We are here' police tell Carrick/Overbrook watch
“If they’re a nuisance neighbor, every time you see something go wrong call 911. If [the landlord] gets enough calls, they will be asked to move,” Carrick Overbrook Block Watch facilitator Carol Anthony told area residents in response to comments about unruly neighbors at the groups November meeting.
Jumping into the business of the meeting, Ms. Anthony pointed out the itemized list of police calls in Carrick provided by Zone 3 Crime Prevention Officer Christine Luffey has dropped from four pages previously, to one and a half last month.
“That’s because of you and your block watch,” she told the group.
Officer Luffey began her presentation by saying she wanted to share some information on things that have been happening in the neighborhoods.
“Carrick has been a target area of ours for quite some time,” she said. “A lot of times you just see the bad and you look around and think nothing is being done, but that’s not true. What is true is that our officers are being proactive and we’re trying to make our entire zone a better area. Especially Carrick because it does need some work.”
She referenced the crime statistics in saying crime has gone down in the neighborhood, adding the police had made nine drug arrests in the last 30 days.
“We are here. A lot of us are not in uniform. A lot of us are working in plain clothes and we’re trying to blend in so you may not know who we are and we don’t want you to know who we are so we can make an impact and people can act as normal as possible and we catch them,” she said.
As an example, Officer Luffey related that undercover detectives were in the 1800 block of Westmont Avenue on October 21 when they observed a group of men standing in the street. When the detectives approached the group, one of the men separated from the rest. As the man turned, the police saw what appeared to be a gun in his hand.
“Lo and behold, he was armed,” she said. The 21 year old Westmont Avenue resident was arrested “for having a gun he had no business having.”
A second example of area policing she provided took place the evening of October 25 on Kirk Avenue. Officers were in the 200 block responding to a call for a fight and ended up arresting a 12 year old. According to the police report, the youth was firing shots a house.
“Know that charges are filed, even against a 12 year old,” Officer Luffey said.
“Another win for all of us,” she continued. “A pretty big drug bust” took place on October 25 also.
The swat team aided by Zone 3 uniform officers went into the house on Nobles Lane.
“There were actually children in this house,” Officer Luffey added.
In the bust, police recovered $1,580 in cash, a digital scale used to weigh drugs, security cameras, cell phones and “a good amount of heroin.”
“We are out there; we are giving it our best. That’s what we signed up to do.”
Officer Luffey asked for the captains and co-captains of the individual block watches represented at the meeting to provide her or Ms. Anthony with their contact information: name, address and telephone number. The contact information would be used to inform the captains of situations happening in their areas.
One such situation occurred Halloween morning. Early in the morning, an intruder attempted to enter a house on Spencer Avenue. The elderly resident could see someone at the door and heard the doorknob jiggling, but the door was locked and the intruder couldn’t get in the house.
Neighbors reported seeing a middle-aged woman sitting in a car outside the house.
Officer Luffey noted most burglaries occur during the day.
Changing subjects, the officer talked about the upcoming sixth annual “Get Stuffed With Love” free Thanksgiving dinner distribution. The program of the local police, along with volunteers and service clubs, provides a free Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who would like one.
“Anyone, it doesn’t matter who you are or how many you want,” she stressed.
The dinners are delivered by Pittsburgh police beginning Thanksgiving morning. This year, the program will expand from Police Zones 3 and 6 to Zone 1.
A request for free dinners can be made by calling Officer Luffey at 412-488-8425 and providing the person’s name, address, telephone number and the number of meals needed to be delivered to the residence.
Requests for the dinners can be made up to the day before Thanksgiving.
In the question and answer portion of the meeting, one resident commented there was a petition circulating to speak at a public hearing before Pittsburgh City Council concerning the building of a dek hockey rink at Phillips Park.
“This to me is getting kids off the street,” she said. Additionally, they would be requesting additional parking to accommodate the dek hockey rink.
She added in 1990 city council approved money for the project and later more funding was added and now totals a little over $110,000.
Dan Barrett from Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak’s office said they have requested a quote from City Planning or the Department of Public Works on exactly how much it will cost.
“Even if we don’t have the dek, we need the parking,” the woman added.
“I am distressed we were the first neighborhood, we were supposed to get the Penguin dek and now the Penguins are done and will not get involved in anything that is controversial. So we will not see a Penguin dek in our neighborhood.”
Ms. Anthony said if anyone signed the petition, they would be expected to show up for the public hearing.
Mr. Barrett confirmed “in theory” signing the petition is a statement they will show up at the public hearing to have their voice heard. He added, “they’re not going to call you and yell at you if you don’t show up, but the idea is, you signed it because you care about it to go up and have your voice heard.”
Ms. Anthony said she would be at the hearing to speak in opposition to the dek hockey rink.
“I have heard all of you over the months say there is nowhere to park. As a matter of fact, the people that live right there beside the park have been complaining for years that there’s nowhere to park,” she said.
The public hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. today, Nov. 12, in City Council Chambers.