South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Filing crime reports stressed at Zone 3 Public Safety Council meeting


The importance of filing a police report when a crime occurs was a focus of the May 15 Zone 3 Public Safety Council Meeting held in the Zone 3 police station.

A 25-year area resident said her ex-husband was robbed recently in the early evening by three men as he left the Family Dollar store. He was in the parking lot next to the Check Mart when the thieves grabbed him and stole his disability check.

Her ex-husband, who has some brain damage from a car accident and walks with a cane, did not report the incident as he said he did not see the men well enough to identify them.

The woman said it appears to her local criminals are preying on the elderly and disabled.

Crime prevention Officer Christine Luffey said it is important to file reports as otherwise police do not know the crimes are occurring.

Zone 3 Commander Catherine McNeilly said the police will review cameras in the area.

Ken Wolfe, public safety council president, said he knows the man who was robbed, and will speak with him.

He also said some residents are fearful of coming to these meetings, which are usually held in the Zone 3 police station.

But it does offer some privacy as criminals will not willingly come in a police station, he said.

A Caligiuri high-rise building administrator said it is important for the safety of her residents that crimes against the elderly and disabled be reported.

Also at the high-rise, a non-resident woman has been entering the building about 4 a.m. most nights with a man. Officials haven’t been able to locate her once she slips into the building.

Officer Luffey said if it happens again she will be arrested for defiant trespassing.

In announcements, the group opposed to the reopening of the Butta Bing strip club on Route 51 won that day in Commonwealth Court. The applicant has 30 days to appeal.

The second annual “Communities Against Crime” will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on July 30 in the area between Churchview and Owendale avenues in the 2600-2900 blocks of Brownsville Rd. in Carrick.

The gathering is designed to show community support in the face of drug dealing and other crimes impacting the neighborhood’s quality of life.

Next, an attendee said he is concerned about potential graffiti in a Bon Air parklet which will be receiving a new clay surface and more over the summer. Officer Luffey said she would alert officers.

Justin Wasser, of the office of State Rep. Erin C. Molchany, said he would be attending the public safety council meetings to learn what is happening in the community, and he and Rep. Molchany would be there for state-related concerns.

An Open House will be held at Rep. Molchany’s local office, 900 Brookline Blvd., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 1.

Besides information on how state government works, there will be programs for seniors and children, help with job resumes, food, and more.

Commander McNeilly said a proposal she advocates that requires legislative action is to allow retired police officers to work in the department part-time while keeping their benefits. She called it a win-win-win for the officer, the public, and the police union.

Currently, when officers retire all their wisdom and experience goes with them, she said.

“We are trying desperately to replenish our ranks,” she said of taking up to a year to train a new officer. But by hiring retirees, positions such as teaching, conducting background checks, watching cameras on crime-prone corners, and more could be filled immediately.

As the so-called “double dipping” is not allowed, a change in law is required. Double dipping refers to collecting pay from the same employer from which you collect a pension.

Many states already permit it, however, Commander McNeilly said.

In her updates, Liz Style of the Mayor’s Office said the free Cops & Kids Camp will be held in three week-long sessions this summer. City youths, ages 10 to 14, will gain an understanding of the inner workings of a police department, and more at the camp.

Visit for more information on the camp and an application.

Volunteer Promise Coaches are being sought to help navigate youths through high school and onto higher education via the Pittsburgh Promise.

The Pittsburgh Promise provides scholarship funds for city residents to pursue undergraduate higher education. If interested in coaching, visit:

Ms. Style also announced applications are available for the fall 2013 round of Love Your Block grants.

Qualifying community organizations can receive $1,000 and support of city services for a block beautification project in their neighborhood.

Anyone can apply, she said, and their organization does not have to have 501(c) non-profit status. But the project should be on public property.

For more information, visit:

National Night Out will be held on Aug. 6. It is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support for local anti-crime programs; and strength neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships.

The next public safety council meeting will be in the Overbrook Community Center.


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