Block watch bands live streaming of monthly community meetings
November 13, 2018
The first order of business for the October meeting of the Carrick/Overbrook Block Watch was an announcement by block watch leadership that there would be no recording or live streaming of the block watch’s meetings, on Facebook or any other social media.
Concerns were expressed that information shared at the meetings was “sensitive” and shouldn’t be live-streamed, videoed or recorded in any manner.
Zone 3 officer Christine Luffey agreed with the announcement saying, “live streaming is a bad idea.” She said she knows that there are other meetings where people like to stream their proceedings, but the block watch meeting is a “safe place” where people can come and talk about things with the police and the rest of the community.
She added neither she, nor other officers who attend the meetings, will consent to being recorded at the block watch meetings.
“If people want to know what’s going on at these meetings, they can come to these meetings,” Officer Luffey said.
Going into the regular agenda for the evening, Officer Luffey said she didn’t have a lot of crime to report on, “which is obviously a good thing.” She did have several reports from over the past month she felt would be of particular interest to the group.
The first report concerned a traffic stop that happened on October 11 at approximately 10 p.m. An officer was proactively patrolling the neighborhood when he noticed a woman, who was a known drug user, talking with someone in a car in the 2200 block of Brownsville Road. When the woman saw the officer, she quickly got in the car and the driver pulled out without using a turn signal.
Officer Luffey said the patrol officer was able to pull the car over for failing to use a turn signal. The driver of the car was found to have several packets of heroin in his pocket. The woman was found to have hypodermic needles and a crack pipe in her purse.
The pair were charged with possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia.
A second report was from an incident that happened on October 22, also at about 10:30 p.m. and involving the same officer. The officer was patrolling in the 1900 block of Brownsville Road when he noticed a woman pull out into the roadway.
The officer pulled the woman over for failing to use a turn signal when she pulled out. The officer noticed a strong odor of marijuana and found the woman had a straw used for cocaine and prescription drugs that did not belong to her.
The woman was charged with traffic violations, giving the officer a false ID, driving with a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance and paraphernalia.
The next two reports Officer Luffey explained were for overdoses in the neighborhood, one resulting in death.
The first one was from October 15 at approximately 9 p.m. when police were sent to a home on Spokane Avenue. At the home, the police found a person had snorted two bags of heroin. Paramedics were able to save the person.
In the second overdose report, from October 13, police were called to Spencer Avenue for a report of an unresponsive man in a basement bathroom. A Michigan man was found to have died in the bathroom. Police found evidence heroin had been used.
The next police report she wanted to discuss was one she was personally involved with and concerned Phillips Park.
“There’s a lot of issues going on around the park that involve juveniles,” she said.
The prior week, Officer Luffey said she was attending a meeting at the park when a woman came in asking for help. A larger group of white and black males were targeting a smaller group of Nepali boys nearby at the Carrick Shopping Center.
The woman said one male in particular “beat up” one of the Nepali boys badly, striking him several times in the face.
Officer Luffey said she requested assistance and three additional cars responded. Shortly thereafter, a group of the Nepali boys approached her at the park and asked for help. She could see one had been beaten.
Another of the boys told her his father had also been attacked the night before.
Officer Luffey said the recreation center staff came out to see if they could help. In the meantime, four of the white boys who were involved in the assault approached the center.
She stopped them and had them sit on the ground while they provided identification. One of the center’s staff came up to the officer and said the Nepali boy who was attacked recognized one of the detained boys as the one who had assaulted him.
Officer Luffey said all the youth would receive citations in the mail, but she also asked the responding officer to follow up and talk to all of their parents individually.
“Please know that we’re not done with these kids. We’re not done. They’re going to receive citations in the mail for their role in bothering these males,” she said. In addition, she was going to call the parents and ask them, “Where were you? What are you doing?”
The next report the officer said concerned a juvenile who is known to be a problem in the neighborhood.
On October 30, police were called to the 1900 block of Brownsville Road for a report of a robbery. The victim was a 13-year-old boy who had been walking to a local restaurant with friends when he was grabbed, shoved and punched several times resulting in abrasions to his head and chest.
The suspect took two $5 bills from the victim and attempted to take his cell phone.
Officer Luffey said, “When you touch a person, take something from that person, it’s robbery. That’s not a theft, that’s a felony, that’s a robbery.”
On another subject, Officer Luffey said her “favorite day of the year” was coming on Thanksgiving Day and the Get Stuffed With Love free meal delivery. Each year volunteers prepare and Pittsburgh Police deliver a “hot, delicious meal.”
There are no income limits, anyone who needs a meal will receive one by calling their local police zone station. Last year, the police delivered a little over 3,000 meals citywide.
“It’s my favorite day of the year,” she said. “It’s a really good day.”
The next meeting of the Carrick/Overbrook Block Watch will be a Christmas meeting and will have coffee and desserts for those attending. The meeting will be held at 25 Carrick Avenue again.