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Block watch members check out latest crime reports in Brookline


In her report to the Brookline Block Watch, Sgt. Pat Kelly said March crime in Section 7, encompassing Brookline and Overbrook, consisted of 3 auto thefts, 1 burglary, 1 robbery, and 11 thefts. The burglary was the break-in of a vacant house by youngsters, who held a beer party there.

Of the 11 thefts, Kelly said at the April 7 meeting, four or five were thefts from unlocked vehicles, while others were minor thefts from residences.

Officer Tom Weger, Zone 4 community problem solving officer for Brookline and Overbrook, said he's checking on three illegally parked cars between Breining St. and Brookline Park. One has no license plate, one has an expired plate, and the check on the other car isn't completed.

Owners will get a notice to either get the cars up to standard within a specified time-frame of about 6 to 8 weeks, or else the vehicles will be scheduled for towing. Officers will be informed of towings 48 hours beforehand so they can check the status. If the vehicle is still illegal, it will be towed.

To an attendee's question of whether it's okay to park an Army transport vehicle in one's driveway, Weger said yes, but it must have a legal truck plate.

Block watch President Mary Anne Miller said residents with complaints about abandoned cars, trash, police, or other matters should attend block watch meetings to express their concerns, or else send complaints to: Brookline Block Watch, P.O. Box 9606, Pittsburgh, PA 15226. Block watch officers will forward the complaints to the appropriate city officials.

Miller said she asked Commander William Joyce a few months ago for monthly crime reports that list streets where crimes occurred so local residents can be alerted. Joyce said he'd check with Chief Robert McNeilly, but Miller hasn't heard back. Kelly said she'd look into it. Miller said she received similar reports for years until the woman who compiled them died.

Miller also said she would shortly be mailing a letter to city officials informing them that seven qualified volunteers are ready to help staff the Brookline mini station “that is supposed to open any day in the Mazza Pavilion.” Organizations city-wide received letters from Assistant Police Chief Nathan Harper requesting help, such as answering phones and distributing information, at various mini-stations.

In response to a question about anti-war protesters Downtown stepping in front of vehicles to block them, Weger said to let police officers deal with the situation.

Officers have been at every Downtown protest, said Weger, noting that, as the war progresses, protests are becoming more organized and disciplined, and are attracting smaller crowds.

If damage is done to your vehicle by protesters, Officer Dawn Bowen said to be a good witness by remembering what they're wearing, and even asking for names. “Some will tell you who they are,” she said.

“Be the best witness you can be,” she said. “Flag one of us down if they do damage. We can get a report for you.”

In the treasurer's report, Bill Feineigle reported a balance of $63.68, or the same amount as last month. The cookies for the meeting were donated by the So. Pgh. Development Corp.

Miller announced locations for upcoming community disaster training classes, developed in conjunction with the city, police bureau, and the Red Cross. The next one will be Thursday, April 17, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the City EOC/911 Center, 31st and AVRR streets, Strip District. A class will also be held in nearby Carrick at Concord Elementary School, 2350 Brownsville Rd., on Thursday, April 24, 7 to 9 p.m.

The classes are free. To register, call Elaine Caparelli at 412-244-4197.

The next meeting of the Brookline Area Community Council will be April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Mark's Church on Brookline Blvd. The topic will be street performing and community art, or busking, and will be presented by Eric Sloss. Local artists are encouraged to bring portfolios. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Rob Frank at 412-431-4828.

The next block watch meeting will take place on May 5 at 7:00 p.m. in the office of District Justice Charles McLaughlin, 736 Brookline Blvd.


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