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South Side blitz gets busier

| Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's effort to eliminate rowdy behavior in the South Side intensified last weekend with police making more arrests, issuing more citations and having more vehicles towed than in either of the first two weekends.

“We're going to continue this blitz as long as the mayor believes it is necessary,” said Ravenstahl spokeswoman Joanna Doven. “As you can see, there is still a lot of intolerable behavior on the South Side.”

Police arrested 24 people and issued 322 citations last weekend, Doven said.

Pittsburgh police officers, firefighters and building inspectors conducted 60 bar occupancy inspections and had 89 vehicles towed.

“I think the numbers speak to the need for enforcement,” said city Councilman Bruce Kraus, who represents the South Side. “Three hundred twenty-two citations? The number is pretty staggering.”

During the first two weekends of the blitz — Jan. 19-20 and Jan. 25-26 — 27 people were arrested, 214 citations were issued, 58 bars were inspected and 76 vehicles were towed.

Doven said she is not sure why the numbers increased.

“The first weekend there was a lot of media attention, and one would guess the revelers stayed away,” Doven said. “The next weekend, the weather was bad. You also have to take into account how active a night is. Some nights are very active, some nights are not.”

Assistant Police Chief Maurita Bryant said three of the arrests Friday and Saturday were for crimes that are considered misdemeanors and 21 were for less-serious summary offenses. Police statistics do not list the specific charges those arrested face.

Bryant said 307 of the citations were traffic violations, including 16 moving violations and 285 parking violations. Nineteen citations were listed as traffic stops, and three were for warnings issued.

Of the 15 non-traffic citations issued, six were for disorderly conduct, four were for public intoxication and three were for urinating in public. There was also one for having an open container of alcohol and another for obstructing traffic.

Nine code violations were found during the bar inspections, including for such things as burned out exit signs, blocked exits and faulty exit hardware.

“We're trying to change (the image of the) ‘Crazy, Wild South Side,' ” Doven said.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or at mhasch@tribweb.com.

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