Zone 3 police are seeking community volunteers for a new pilot program that will help document and map the locations of all surveillance cameras within the South Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
Officer Auvil’s plan is to assign volunteers to multiple “sectors” within Carrick. Each resident will explore an assigned area and document the location of all surveillance cameras within the sector. Each sector covers a few blocks within the neighborhood.
After collecting the data, volunteers will submit camera locations to Zone 3 police where the information will be aggregated and eventually presented as part of an interactive map. That map will serve as a reference and help police identify areas containing a high density of surveillance coverage.
“Detectives will immediately have a knowledge of where the cameras are located,” Officer Auvil said. “This knowledge will lead to more efficient investigations, quicker apprehension of perpetrators, a greater chance of conviction, and ultimately a decrease in neighborhood crime.”
When discussing the effectiveness of security cameras, Officer Auvil mentioned a previous project in the 2600 block of Brownsville Road. He was able to have 14 cameras and signage installed on private businesses after working with residents to secure $3,000.
According to city crime statistics, a 63 percent decrease in 911 calls occurred in the 2600 block of Brownsville Road in the six months following the camera installation.
A resident requested that a Shotspotter camera be installed on Spencer Avenue. It was suggested the resident direct the request to Councilwoman Rudiak’s office.
Officer Auvil also presented this month’s Carrick / Overbrook crime report and described several notable criminal incidents that occurred in the area between February 6 and March 6.
On February 25, A 20-year-old man was arrested after he was accused of entering a house on Merritt Avenue and making unlawful contact with a minor. It was discovered that the man was also carrying a stolen firearm.
Narcotic detectives executed a search warrant on February 14 in the 200 block of Poplargrove Street to investigate a man suspected of selling narcotics. The individual has been interviewed and no arrest has been made.
Police, fire, and EMS all responded to a non-fatal overdose in the 300 block of East Agnew Avenue on February 22. The individual was treated and released.
“Due to the new statutes protecting those who overdose and those who call to save lives, there were no charges filed,” Officer Auvil said.
A resident asked about a fatal stabbing that had occurred on the morning of March 6 in the 1100 block of Brownsville Road. Officer Auvil said the Zone 3 commander had requested information from homicide detectives and will pass along the details when they are available.
Another resident followed-up on a report of gunshots fired on Sunday, March 5 around 9 p.m. along Overbrook Boulevard. Officer Auvil confirmed that shell casings were found in the area and police are investigating the incident.
An overview of all crime statistics over the previous 30 days showed approximately 90 calls for service in the Carrick / Overbrook neighborhoods in this timeframe.
The statistics also listed eight burglaries, eight criminal mischief reports, eight overdoses, three rape/sexual assaults, 21 simple assaults, 14 thefts, two drug related reports, one firearm report, and one incident of endangering the welfare of a child.
Following the crime report, Ashleigh Deemer, chief of staff of Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak’s office, announced the councilwoman met with the mayor’s office earlier that day to discuss conducting another ‘Carrick Blitz’ event.
The first Carrick Blitz occurred in the fall of 2015 when multiple city departments leveraged internal data to develop a list of 42 target properties in Carrick that are the subject of drug use, overgrowth, or maintenance issues.
“We need to make a real statement, a loud statement,” Ms. Deemer said. “We are going to do another Carrick blitz and we are going to coordinate with this block watch. It takes a lot of planning to get things underway.”
The next Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch meeting will be Monday, April 3 in the Concord K5 Auditorium.