South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Zone 3 updated on virtual block watch, progress of South Watch


The June 19 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council began with information on the June 24 “Ussie Summer Games,” with teams comprised of police officers and community members of all ages.

The planned activities consisted of relay races, dodgeball, dunk tank, water balloon toss, tug of war, and more.

The free event was held at Highmark Stadium.

Next, Officer Nathan Auvil said cameras are helpful with neighbor disputes. He also said he is looking to establish a virtual block watch in the 600-700 blocks of Warrington Ave.

For the project, city Councilman Bruce Kraus came up with $5,000, which will be held by the Hilltop Alliance.

Officer Auvil and Hilltop Alliance officials will be going door-to-door explaining the project to business owners, and asking for contributions.

The 16 cameras will all be exterior ones.

He reported a 63 percent decrease in 911 calls after the Carrick virtual block watch was instituted. He said residents are worried the new virtual block watch will push crime onto the back streets.

But he said Warrington Ave. is the neighborhood’s front stage, and low crime is needed to attract more businesses and customers.

 In other news, Barbara Rudiak said the current focus of the South Side Community Council (SSCC)’s South Watch is refuse regulations.

South Watch works to improve the quality of life in South Side by bringing people and institutions together to identify code violations, advocate for their remediation, and monitor the outcomes.

It is patterned after Oakwatch in Oakland.

She said tenants with trash violations are notified.

Letters are also sent to property owners about tenants who do not dispose of trash correctly, with reminders that it contributes to rodents and lowered property values. She also stresses how much she and others enjoy living in South Side.

She said there has been success with property owners’ responses to these notices as properties are often “spruced up.”

Ms. Rudiak then sends thank-you notes.

She said it makes a difference when people know someone is watching.

“Otherwise, they’re not here, and don’t see it, so could care less,” public safety council president Ken Wolfe said of some landlords.

Ms. Rudiak said Duquesne University’s director of commuter affairs sends emails to students about trash regulations. She said that through the process she is becoming well-versed on regulations.

Next, an attendee said there are gang fights near Arabella St., with cars being keyed and more.

He said residents are ready to start their own block watch in the 200 block of Arabella St.

“Neighbors are screaming for help,” he said.

Next, an attendee said there are numerous immigrants in Zone 1. She said a program was started with refrigerator magnets listing key words in various languages so an immigrant can call 911 and state the key word for the problem at hand.

“That is excellent!” someone remarked.

In announcements, the Fifth Annual Communities Against Crime event will be held from 6-8 p.m. on July 18 in the Dairy District pavilion on Brownsville Road.

Police, fire and EMS will be on hand to present crime prevention tips. There will be games for youngsters. Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

Businesses, food vendors, artists, and others are encouraged to set up a table and promote their businesses. To set up a table, email


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