Pittsburgh to spend $1M on cameras, gunshot sensors for Homewood
Pittsburgh police began using cameras and license plate readers to target criminals in the East End ahead of City Council's vote on Tuesday to spend more than $1 million on cameras and gunshot sensors in Homewood and the surrounding area.
In two eight-hour shifts Friday and Saturday, city police were able to monitor 13,273 vehicles, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said. Police recovered five stolen vehicles, stopped 36 drivers for suspended or revoked licenses, arrested at least three people and generated $11,000 in fines, Zappala said.
“This is something we've been trying to use on an impact basis,” he said. “It's an outstanding result.”
Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson said officers used three plate readers mounted on city-owned vehicles in police Zone 5, at Zappala's request.
“(They're) a hundred times faster than what the human eye or human mind can calculate,” Donaldson said.
Public Safety Director Michael Huss said the sweep's tactics were different than how the city will use the new cameras.
“We have certain hot spots in Homewood we believe are contributing to problems in that area,” Huss said. “This is a more focused effort.”
Councilman Ricky Burgess of North Point Breeze proposed buying about 60 cameras and 45 gunshot sensors for Homewood and its immediate surrounds. Council approved the measure 7-2, with Natalia Rudiak of Carrick and Patrick Dowd of Highland Park voting no.
Rudiak questioned the usefulness of the equipment and objected to earmarking unbudgeted money for it.
“We are borrowing against next year's capital budget without the necessary public process,” she said. “I believe we're setting up a bad habit of drawing down cash that doesn't exist yet.”
Dowd first wants to beef up police ranks in the East End. He has long advocated for more officers in Zone 5, which covers the East End, saying departures and injured officers have depleted the station's ranks.
“Councilman Burgess wants us to believe that (gunshot detectors and cameras) will save lives,” Dowd said. “Until we have adequate staffing levels, we are not going to save lives.”
Burgess has said a string of shootings in April in Homewood, one of which critically wounded a police officer, prompted him to hasten the legislation.
Zappala said he plans to write a letter to City Council supporting the purchase of cameras. He said as the number of police officers declines, cameras can become more of an asset.
“If you don't have the boots on the street, you can still put eyes on the street,” Zappala said.
Staff writer Bob Bauder contributed to this report. Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8519 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reversing the field: Pirates continue to raid Yankees for hidden skill
- Wardens on the prowl for unlicensed dogs in Armstrong this week
- Lenape students work on Habitat house in Kittanning
- Injuries to Penguins’ Ehrhoff, Letang force defense to pick up slack
- Body pulled from river in Charleroi
- Steelers’ Tomlin, Pirates’ Hurdle share similar philosophy
- Mon-Yough Tuesday takes
- Ohio governor Kasich, a McKees Rocks native, considers presidential run
- Pirates notebook: Locke the choice to be 5th starter
- Former Pa. Gov. Corbett: From pension critic to collector
- Blaze guts South Greensburg home, kills 2 dogs