South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Carrick Blitz results are revealed

 

Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon, Mayor Bill Peduto and Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak talk about the results and the next phase of the Carrick Blitz.

The results of the Carrick Blitz, the city's multi-departmental effort to reduce crime and blight in Carrick, were presented by Mayor Bill Peduto and several city officials at the Carrick/Overbrook Block Watch meeting last Monday in the Concord K5 auditorium.

Using a combination of 911 data, 311 data, and community input, 42 total properties were identified and 55 total violations, ranging from overgrowth to abandonment, were discovered as part of the blitz. 13 properties had multiple violations.

Fourteen issues are scheduled for hearings before magistrate Richard King in the coming weeks. Eighteen issues were resolved without any additional action from the city, and five of the properties were found not to have any violations at all.

"Today is not the end," Mayor Peduto said. "Today we get a glimpse of what actually has been able to succeed. And I've got to tell you this, if you weren't involved, it would have never happened."

City officials distributed a document to each resident that contained a list of the 42 properties, the block in which the property is located, the issues the city identified, the actions taken to resolve the issues, and the next steps in the process.

Grant Gittlen, manager of the Mayor's Community Affairs Office, provided an overview of the process the city used to organize the blitz and presented a summary of the results.

"We promised last time that you'd have some data and some real next steps," Mr. Gittlen said. "And that we wouldn't say we're focusing on 42 properties and not tell you about the ones that are going to the magistrate."

Of the issues reported, overgrowth was the most common violation with 15 issues documented in the blitz. There were also 12 litter and debris problems, seven pothole issues, six sidewalk concerns, and four building violations. Two of the buildings were abandoned and one building was condemned.

"This does not include all of the amazing work that the police bureau and Commander Dixon have been doing out in the field," Mr. Gittlen said.

Mr. Gittlen said 14 working group meetings, five community meetings, and more than 175 people were involved in both the planning phase and execution of the blitz. He also said the effort in which the city took to combine multiple data streams to build a map of target properties will be used again in the future.

According to Mayor Peduto, the Carrick Blitz was successful because of a combined effort between the community, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak, and the different city departments. Mayor Peduto also said the city hopes to replicate this success in other city neighborhoods.

"There are a lot of things happening throughout the city, but when the people of a neighborhood are willing to get behind it, it sort of gets moving a lot faster," Mayor Peduto said. "So we're going to take what we learned in Carrick and we're going start to do it in neighborhoods throughout the city next year."

According to Council-woman Rudiak, there are several plans in place to follow through on the results of the blitz. Among the plans is the pressure for sustained involvement from the various city departments. She also encouraged residents to attend the magistrate hearings for the properties.

Councilwoman Rudiak is also seeking grant funding to hire a full time Quality of Life Manager to ensure that initiatives like the Carrick Blitz remain an ongoing process.

"We have wonderful volunteer organizations like the Carrick/Overbrook block watch," Councilwoman Rudiak said. "But we don't really have folks on the ground to be able to track things like this on a regular basis".

Residents in attendance also received a flowchart that outlined the process that occurs when a 311 complaint is submitted. According to the handout, once a 311 complaint is a received, an inspector is to visit the property within five days.

The process does require the city to provide up to three notices and wait 30 days before the violations are sent to the local magistrate.

The next Carrick/Overbrook Crime Watch meeting will be on Monday, Dec. 7 in the Concord K5 Elementary School auditorium. More information on the Carrick block watch and community events is available at http://www.carrickpa.com

 

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