By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Public Safety Council updated on concerns throughout the zone

 

December 5, 2017



"Very rewarding" was how Zone 3 community relations Officer Christine Luffey described the annual "Get Stuffed With Love" program that ensures no city residents go without a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving. Everyone in need is eligible to receive a free, warm meal delivered to their residence. 

As of the Nov. 20 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council, 1,222 meals had been ordered in the zone.

The meeting was conducted by group vice-president Liz Style in the absence of president Ken Wolfe.

In other news, a Mt. Washington resident said on-street drug selling appears to have declined in the neighborhood.

"The people are happy. The neighbors appreciate what you did," he told the police officers in attendance of the difference their presence makes in the neighborhood.

Next, city Councilman Bruce Kraus said troublemaking by juveniles at the recently renovated Knoxville branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh on Brownsville Rd. has tapered off. Mr. Kraus, who is also a library board member, said he believes a lot of the calmness is due to the weather.

In other library news, he said the Carrick branch of Carnegie Library will soon be replaced by a larger library. Construction will take about 15 months.

"Another great place of social gathering," he said of the branch.

Mr. Kraus also reported residents are concerned about Officer Nathan Auvil leaving to become a detective as he has a good presence in the zone.

On another topic, a concern was raised about an SUV parked for over a year on Bailey Ave. in Mt. Washington. An officer said he checked it out, but the inspection a registration stickers are good, and the vehicle is not blocking anything, so he could not take any action to remove it.

Mr. Kraus said it is full of debris as if someone is living out of it, but it belongs to a resident in the neighborhood.

Knoxville resident Roy Blankenship announced the MAD DADS organization, which provides mentorship to youths, will be conducting an Allentown street patrol. There are also efforts to establish a southwest chapter, he said.

The Greater Pittsburgh Area MAD DADS is a volunteer, nationally affiliated faith-based Christian, non-profit organization that prepares men to restore safe communities.

MAD DADS stands for Men Against Destruction – Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder. The group is comprised of community fathers whose mission is to maintain safer communities while impacting the issues of drugs, gangs, and violence.

Its signature program is neighborhood street patrol in which the volunteers target "hot spots" and go there to interact with youth who are at-risk, due largely to family dynamics, of getting into trouble.

Mr. Blankenship also reported youngsters enjoyed an event he held the prior weekend, and which was attended by MAD DADS.

Mr. Blankenship thanked Mr. Kraus and Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon for supporting him.

Next, a Bon Air resident commented there are car "break-ins" in his area in vehicles that are unlocked.

Commander Dixon told him to encourage residents to report what and when items were stolen so the police can establish a presence.

Mr. Kraus said he first met Officer Luffey 13 years ago when she was interested in doing a public service announcement called "Smash and Grab" about car break-ins. The message was not to leave valuables that can be seen, thereby tempting thieves to break in and steal the items.

On another topic, Mr. Kraus said with Officer Auvil leaving the neighborhood due to a promotion, he does not want the camera project to fall off the list.

Earlier this year, Officer Auvil said he was looking to establish a virtual block watch in the 600-700 blocks of Warrington Ave. As the street is the neighborhood's front stage, he said low crime was needed to attract more businesses and customers.

The 16 planned cameras would all be exterior ones.

He reported at that time there was a 63 percent decrease in 911 calls after the Carrick virtual block watch was instituted. 

The officers in attendance said the program would not go away.

In announcements, the annual Mittens & Mingles holiday fundraiser will be held on Dec. 7 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Clear Story Studio, 1931 Sidney St. Tickets may be purchased on-line at: www.southsidechamber.org/mingle/.

It is presented by UPMC Mercy, and hosted by the South Side Chamber of Commerce.

The event benefits the South Side Welcome Center and raises funds for holiday toys and meals for the Brashear Association's community initiatives. 

To a question about the Pittsburgh Citizen's Police Academy, an officer responded one is scheduled for December, but that it is already at capacity.

The next meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council will be posted on Facebook.

 

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