South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Wolfe resigns from Zone 3 council, Liz Style will now lead safety group

 


Zone 3 Public Safety Council vice-president Liz Style is the group’s new president following the resignation of Ken Wolfe.

“It has been my pleasure to serve you,” he said at the July 16 meeting.

After 14 years he stepped down as president to devote time to the arrival of a new baby.

Ms. Style will serve as president until the January elections.

The meeting began with Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon reporting the zone has three new officers, raising the total to more than 100. But with some officers being injured, the total is in the 90s.

To a question about fireworks, an attendee said on July 4, pieces of cardboard, that were on fire, dropped down on her car and another family car from someone’s fireworks.

While she called the police, her neighbor told her “to get over it.”

She said while she does not mind the little ones, these were “big and gala, and boom -- they knocked you off the front porch,” she said.

Commander Dixon said while fireworks are legal, they cannot be set off within 150-feet of an occupied building. Call 911 if you feel your safety is at risk, or if it is a late hour.

Fireworks cannot be set off on city streets or parks. Their timing also cannot be so late as to interrupt the community’s sleep. You can set off fireworks in a cemetery if you have permission from the owner.

The commander said she sent a patrol car to the new spray park in Arlington after receiving a call about fireworks there.

The best place to set off fireworks, she said, is on your own property far away from other people and their property.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus said the public should be bombarded with information on when and where fireworks cannot be utilized. For next year he suggested cards to hand out with the do’s and don’ts.

“These are the rules,” he said of what the effort should be.

“It was bad,” Mr. Wolfe said of the bombardment of loud fireworks set off by residents on July 4.

“I was never at war, but I felt I was,” he said.

When Zone 3 community relations Officer Christine Luffey called for questions, she was asked about a “peeping Tom” who looks in windows, and was spotted by Woodruff St. The fear was he could be a rapist or child molester.

The police made an arrest in the case of a 30-year-old homeless man.

To a question about vehicle break-ins, there were only six this month in South Side, and five in Mt. Washington, which are low numbers.

Mr. Kraus said the vagrancy rate is also down; there have not been many calls to his office about vagrants on the streets.

A hundred “no trespassing” signs for businesses were created. He said the city Law Department believes it is stronger language than “no loitering.” The signs should be erected in a week or two.

Mr. Kraus credited Commander Dixon for the “no nonsense” approach.

“Her leadership has really brought this,” he said.

If the vagrants are camping on the trail, the bike police are on it.

Next, group secretary Donna Williams asked for volunteers to cook for, and then serve, EMS personnel, police, and firefighters on Sept. 11. The tradition was started by the sister of a retired firefighter “to show appreciation for firefighters on 9/11,” she said.

It has since expanded to include EMS and police. She said she would get more details for the next meeting.

In announcements, Ms. Style reported she and others are working with the city’s Dept. of Public Safety on what materials to make available to block watches. A website is also being planned, with a map.

The way it is currently, you register your block watch, and get approval. Block watch registration is a way to see what groups are legitimate, Ms. Style said. Following approval, the block watch information becomes public.

The question is what information becomes public, as Ms. Style said she does not want her phone number or personal email address out there for anyone to access.

The map being drawn will show where all of the block watches are located. That way, new residents can see if there is a block watch in their area. A decision must be made on what information will appear when someone clicks on a block watch on the map.

An eight-page “Build a Block Watch” kit is available on how to recruit, participate in National Night Out, and more has been developed.

Ms. Williams said she and others did not want block watches to be perceived as just about “crime.” Rather, they are about bonding among neighborhoods, community safety, resident camaraderie, and more.

Ms. Style said “block watch” is a brand, so they will keep the name.

The annual National Night Out that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie will be held on Aug. 7. Organizers should register their event on the city website in order to receive free materials.

National Night Out will be celebrated with events in Allentown, Knoxville, and Carrick. Details will be on the Facebook page in the next few weeks.

From 6 to 9 p.m. during National Night Out, a portable spray park at the Dairy District pavilion on East Meyers St. in Carrick will be open to everyone.

The next Zone 3 meeting will be on August 20 at the Zone 3 Station at 6 p.m.

 

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