South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Carrick Blitz continues, next steps to be decided

 


City officials provided a progress report on the 42 properties that are being targeted as part of the Carrick Blitz at the Carrick / Overbrook Crime Watch meeting last Monday in the Concord K5 auditorium.

Officials from the mayor’s office, Department of Community Affairs, Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections, Zone 3 police, and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak attended the meeting to provide the community with a progress report more than halfway through the Carrick blitz.

Councilwoman Rudiak opened the meeting with a recap of the blitz which she said is aimed to reduce crime and blight and improve quality of life in Carrick. The city used internal data and community input to target properties where drug use, overgrowth and structural problems have been reported.

“We have targeted 42 properties and we’re holding property owners accountable and we’re holding tenants accountable for all the housing and code violations as well as disruptive behaviors they may be undertaking,” Councilwoman Rudiak said. “We want to be able to measure our results, see how we’re doing, and hear from you.”

Councilwoman Rudiak also said Carrick is the first area to take part in the “neighborhood specific pilot program” and the area has the opportunity to change how things are done in Pittsburgh.

Grant Gittlen manager of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Office addressed residents about the progress that has been on the blitz. The Department of Public Works has taken care more than two-dozen issues, fixed potholes, pruned trees, and resolved water runoff problems in the area.

Mr. Gittlen also said the Department of Permits Licenses and Inspection has issued notices to 38 of the 42 properties, but property owners must be given 30 days to fix issues before an actual citation can be issued. He also said Zone 3 police are playing a large role in the blitz, but much of that information remains sensitive.

“Public safety is an element of this,” Mr. Gittlen said. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure all the hot spots are being hit. So when we come back here next time, you will see progress from DPW and citations from PLI.”

One resident raised a concern about accountability and asked who can be contacted if there are not improvements. Mr. Gittlen said the blitz wouldn’t be possible without data and encouraged all residents to continue reporting issues to 311.

He also said the city is determining what the relationship looks like between residents and the city following the blitz.

“The councilwoman is discussing a bunch of different things to make sure the process doesn’t end here,” Mr. Gittlen said.

Another resident raised concerns about the length of time it can take for 311 issues to be answered and asked about the best way to follow-up on a submitted 311 complaint.

Councilwoman Rudiak encouraged residents to call back with their reference ID after 30 days if a complaint has not been resolved. Mr. Gittlin also said the city is rolling out a new 311 system that allow the city to report updates more efficiently.

Following the update from city officials, Zone 3 officer Christine Luffey provided a crime report detailing several drug arrests made in the last month.

“We do care about Carrick,” officer Luffey said. “We’re here. We do care about the community.”

Carrick block watch coordinator Carole Anthony also announced the organization is looking for volunteers to attend future hearings on the blighted properties.

The next Carrick / Overbrook Crime Watch meeting will be on Monday, Nov. 2 in the Concord K5 Elementary School auditorium. For more information on the Carrick block watch and community events is available at http://www.carrickpa.com/

 

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