South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Police give details of significant crimes in Carrick/Overbrook


Carrick residents heard an update on summer crime as Zone 3 officer Christine Luffey was the primary speaker at last Monday’s meeting of the Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch at its temporary location in former Birmingham United Church of Christ on Carrick Avenue.

Officer Luffey opened the meeting and presented the monthly crime report to a smaller-than-usual crowd of about 35 residents. The report listed more than 60 criminal incidents that occurred in Carrick or Overbrook between June 4 and July 2.

Among those incidents were 15 reports of theft, 13 reports of simple assault, three reports of aggravated assault, and seven reports of criminal mischief.

Additionally, officer Luffey described seven of the most significant criminal incidents in detail:

Police are investigating a shooting that occurred in the 2600 block of Brownsville Road on June 13 around 2:45 p.m. Officers responded to a 911 call stating a male victim was shot while sitting in his vehicle. The caller reported the shooter was driving a black truck.

When police arrived, they observed the victim had suffered a minor gunshot wound and several bullet holes were found along the outside of his vehicle.

Detectives are reviewing surveillance footage and processing the vehicle for evidence. The case remains open and under investigation.

A female suspect was arrested and charged with prostitution and loitering after police said she stopped a detective in an unmarked vehicle on The Boulevard. No additional information was provided regarding the exchange between the officer and the suspect. The incident occurred on June 9 at 8:41 p.m.

A couple was arrested on June 12 at 1 a.m. after police visited a home on Merritt Avenue in search of a suspect with an outstanding warrant. Inside the home, police discovered marijuana, cocaine, hypodermic needles, and empty stamp bags.

A male suspect was charged with drug possession and operating a vehicle without inspection after he was pulled over on June 17 around 5 p.m. Police said they searched the man’s vehicle after observing numerous scabs on his arm and discovered heroin in his possession.

A man was arrested in the 100 block of Calhoun Avenue after a probation officer informed police he had discovered heroin and drug paraphernalia on the suspect’s living room table. He also stated that a child was in the home at the time. The man was charged with drug possession and endangering the welfare of a child.

A man was charged with aggravated assault, criminal mischief, and burglary after Zone 3 police and SWAT arrested him at a home in the 200 block of Sprucewood Street on June 27 at 8:13 p.m. According to the report, a female victim told police the suspect choked her and held a gun to her head.

A man was arrested for DUI and drug possession on June 29 around 9:45 a.m. after he crashed his car into a pole near KFC on Brownsville Road. Police found five stamp bags of heroin in the vehicle.

“We want Pittsburgh to be safe and whatever that takes, it’s what we’re going to do,” officer Luffey said.

Following the June crime report, officer Luffey asked if residents had any reports or complaints for her to take back to Zone 3 police.

Multiple residents complained about ongoing issues with dirt bike riders driving at high speeds through private property, recent break-ins and vandalism at the former St. Basil school, and the high quantity of empty stamp bags on the street in the 2000 block of Brownsville Road.

A resident also complained about late night fireworks and asked if city laws or noise ordinances apply.

Officer Luffey said new state laws allowing fireworks often supersede any city ordinances, but encouraged residents to call 911 to report them.

“Always call, you don’t know how close an officer is,” officer Luffey said. “We get lucky a lot.”

Ernest Rajakone, deputy manager of the city’s Office of Community Affairs, was also in attendance and asked if residents had any feedback for Mayor Peduto’s office.

Several residents complained about recent flooding issues in the South Hills and specifically mentioned Becks Run Road and the intersection of Route 51 and Route 88.

“It’s only a matter of time before there is a tragedy,” a resident said. “Becks Run Road floods every time there is a hard rain.”

Mr. Rajakone confirmed that multiple city departments are working on plans to ease flooding in the South Hills and that mayor’s office is working closely with Councilman Anthony Coghill to address the problem.

State Rep. Harry Readshaw confirmed Becks Run Road is owned by the county and Route 51 and Route 88 are state roads, and said there is not much city resources can do to prevent flooding in these areas.

Additionally, Mr. Readshaw provided a brief update on the Pennsylvania state budget planning process. He said this year’s budget passed and is set to include $60 million for school and community safety and $40 million to fight the opioid crisis.

Two upcoming meetings were also announced:

Carrick Community Council (CCC) acting president Linda Donahue announced an upcoming CCC meeting on August 8. Details will be available soon.

The South Pittsburgh Opioid Action Coalition (SPOAC) will hold a community meeting on July 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at St. Pius X. SPOAC will discuss recent projects, seek community feedback, and provide overdose prevention training.

The next Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch meeting will be August 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the former Birmingham United Church of Christ at 25 Carrick Avenue. Aaron Arnold, executive director at Prevention Point will be the guest speaker.


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