South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Austin Vaught
Contributing Writer 

Greater cooperation, participation of block watches a goal of Zone 3 council


Last updated 3/12/2019 at 9:43pm

Members of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council attended this month’s meeting of the Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch last Monday to discuss block watch development strategies and 2019 plans.

Liz Style, newly elected board president of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council, opened the meeting with a discussion around opportunities for Carrick Block Watch members to become involved with the council’s plans.

According to Ms. Style, the council formed a new Block Watch Development and Support Committee and will begin to create a formalized process for establishing block watches across the zone. To support this process, the committee will create a new website that allows block watches to register online and promote meetings.

“The plan is to put together a way to have some sort of online presence for block watches,” Ms. Style said. “People can go to the website and see what it’s all about.”

Additionally, Ms. Style said she would like to increase block watch support by having a representative from each individual group attend the monthly Zone 3 Public Safety Council meetings this year.

“I would really like it if we could have representatives from every block watch, but it can be anyone,” Ms. Style said. “I encourage you all to attend. They are open meetings.”

The council meets on the third Monday of every month. Meeting times start at 6 p.m. and are usually held at the Knoxville library; however, there are plans to hold future meetings in each of the Zone 3 neighborhoods.

In addition to block watch development, the council formed a Communication Committee which will be working to revamp the Facebook page and promote future meeting dates through email campaigns.

The council is also planning a “Picnic with the Police” event tentatively scheduled for June 29 at the Arlington spray park. City police, fire, EMS, animal control and park rangers will attend, and the event is open to all community members. More than 100 volunteers are needed.

Following Ms. Style’s presentation, Zone 3 officer Christine Luffey distributed monthly crime statistics. Included in the 60 total incidents that occurred in Carrick and Overbrook last month were 17 thefts, five aggravated assaults, five drug arrests, and three stolen vehicles.

“We have been pretty busy in the Carrick community during these past 30 days,” officer Luffey said. “I have six reports to share with you, so you know we continue to work hard. A lot of it is the war on drugs and we’re doing our very best.”

On February 6 at 1:30 p.m., a male suspect was arrested after a probation officer allegedly observed narcotics in the suspect’s possession while inside the Burger King on Brownsville Road. The probation officer detained the suspect and called the police.

City of Pittsburgh SWAT and Zone 3 police executed a search warrant in the 200 block of West Woodford Avenue on February 20 at 6 a.m. after receiving tips about suspected drug sales taking place in the home. Police recovered 26 bundles of heroin, crack-cocaine, two firearms and two digital scales. A suspect inside the home was arrested and is facing several charges.

An officer was patrolling areas around Carrick High School on February 15 at 9 p.m. when he approached two individuals who were behaving suspiciously. The suspects attempted to flee after the officer observed two stamp bags of heroin fall from one of the suspect’s pockets.

The officer was able to capture and arrest one suspect after a brief chase on foot. The suspect also allegedly attempted to bite the officer’s leg. He was arrested and charged with possession of a controlled substance, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest.

On February 27 at 7:30 p.m., officers were monitoring a home in the 2500 block of Brownsville Road after several community tips about drug activity. Police observed a white male wearing a gray hoodie walk into the apartment building and exit less than a minute later.

When police attempted to stop the individual, he allegedly dropped multiple bags of heroin and began to run. An officer was able to arrest the suspect after a short pursuit.

“This shows you that things you report here at the block watch are listened to,” officer Luffey said. “Any information that you give me here at this meeting, I do pass on.”

Two victims were robbed after leaving Uni-Mart in the 1900 block of Brownsville Road. According to police, the victims noticed two individuals walking closely behind shortly after leaving the store. The suspects each drew a semi-automatic pistol and demanded the victim’s belongings before taking off with bank cards and $150 in cash.

“Possessions can be replaced, but you cannot be replaced,” officer Luffey said. “Don’t ever jeopardize your safety to protect your property. It’s just not worth it.”

Two men were arrested on March 1 at 7:30 a.m. after postal inspectors contacted detectives regarding a package suspected to contain narcotics. Police obtained a search warrant after the package was delivered to a home in the 200 block of Alries Street. More than 6,000 Xanax pills, marijuana, a handgun, digital scales, and cell phones were found inside the home.

A resident asked officer Luffey what percentage of suspects arrested for drug crimes in Carrick are actually Carrick residents. Officer Luffey did not have the statistics available, but said residents can contact police headquarters with any data requests at 412-323-7800.

Following the crime report, David Bjornson of the HEAR CORP apologized to any residents who were impacted by parking constraints caused by a two-day art show that drew more than 300 individuals to 25 Carrick Avenue on March 1 and 2.

“I just want everyone to know that we realize we can’t have 100 cars parked up and down the street,” Mr. Bjornson said. “We’re trying to be a good neighbor.”

Mr. Bjornson added the HEAR CORP is planning to launch a vocational training program in Carrick for kids who are interested in learning skills specific to the broadcast world. In order to do so, the organization has officially submitted a nonprofit application and is looking to form a board.

Sherry Miller Brown, board president of the Carrick Community Council (CCC), also announced the next public CCC meeting will take place May 20 at 25 Carrick Avenue.

The next Carrick / Overbrook Block Watch meeting will be Monday April 1 at 6:30 p.m. at 25 Carrick Avenue.


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