By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Residents get to talk directly with Zone 3 commander about issues


A new meeting room in the renovated Knoxville branch of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh was host to the Sept. 19 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council.

The library reopened this summer after closing for a year for a $3.5 million renovation project.

The officials in attendance included police Commander Karen Dixon and Officer Christine Luffey.

The brief meeting began with news of the “Get Stuffed With Love’’ program that ensures no residents go without a traditional turkey dinner on Thanksgiving.

For community relations Officer Christine Luffey, it will be her ninth year of involvement in the delivery of free, warm meals on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.

“It’s a wonderful program, a fantastic day,” she said.

There are no income or age requirements, and everyone in need in the city of Pittsburgh is eligible.

Residents requesting the free meals should call Officer Luffey at 412-488-8425 and leave their name, phone number, and number of dinners. Also contact her to volunteer for meal preparations and more.

The food is prepared at St. Mary’s Orthodox Church, 105 S. 19th St., South Side, by volunteers. The money for the food comes from donations.

Officer Luffey said after serving she gets in her car “and count my blessings. I love doing it. It is my favorite day of the year to work,” she said.

Next, to a question about abandoned cars in the Mt. Oliver City area, Commander Dixon said to let her know the location and license number.

To a complaint about a Jeep that has not moved in months, she said to call 911. It should be checked as it might be stolen, she said.

Questioned about a vehicle without registration or an inspection sticker parked in a driveway, she said to call 311. The commander said if it is parked on the street, and it is a safety hazard, such as with broken windows, removal can be expedited.

There was also discussion about the new state law that eliminates waiting for an unresponsive red light to turn green.

The new legislation allows drivers to proceed with caution through a red light – after waiting for several minutes – if the light appears broken, or if the vehicle detection technology fails to recognize the presence of a vehicle because it is too light, such as a motorcycle, and does not change to green. But it applies to all vehicles.

To a complaint about a motorcycle that speeds up and down Fisher St., Commander Dixon said to call 911 as she needs to know what is going on and to give a briefing to officers.

“It is so annoying. No helmet, and he flies through the intersection.

“He’ll kill someone,” the attendee said.

A city narcotics officer in attendance said heroin overdoses are rising.

An attendee said in the Beltzhoover area, the youngsters have guns and their parents are drug users, which mean their children run amok.

To a question of why children choose drugs and violence when there are positive choices available to them at school and elsewhere, the latter attendee said peer pressure makes it easier to just join in.

They are drawn to “flashy,” he said, such as glitzy clubs and easy cash.

The narcotics officer said his directive to youths and others is “Do not sell drugs in my neighborhood.”

“It’s about what’s right and wrong,” he said.

He did the same in Lawrenceville, where bad landlords were put on notice.

“Lawrenceville United was on them at the magistrate,” he said.

Ken Wolfe, president of the Zone 3 public safety council, said the Hilltop is light years away from the organization there is in Lawrenceville. The Hilltop, as a whole, is still splintered, he said.

 A retired officer said Lawrenceville United did not have power at the start. But Zone 2 had dedicated officers, and the group had the support of the community.

Mr. Wolfe said the Hilltop has all of the puzzle pieces, but is not yet working together. He said it needs to start to be a cohesive unit. He said it works together in the sense of reporting crimes and violations, as Zone 3 has the largest 911 call volume of all the zones.

He said to keep calling 911, unless it is about a property violation, for which to call 311.

Next, Liz Style, of the city’s Dept. of Public Safety, reminded attendees about the city-wide public safety meeting from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 19. It will be held at the Pittsburgh Federal of Teachers building, 10 S. 19th St., South Side, near the Giant Eagle.

It will be hosted by zones 1, 3, and 6. There will be speakers, informational packets, and free parking and food. Everyone is invited.

Ms. Style also announced she is retiring at Thanksgiving. She resides in Zone 3, so will continue to be involved in the community and attend public meetings.

There will be no Zone 3 meeting in October. Instead, residents are urged to attend the city-wide meeting on Oct. 19.


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