Homewood needs police blitz more than South Side
A lot of effort and attention has been focused on the Pittsburgh police enforcement blitz in the South Side, which seems to be targeting wayward parked cars, the tipsy and a few criminals. In that order.
Less publicized was the city police blitz on Homewood. It's not exactly a destination spot. It is, however, one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city, according to police department statistics.
Just look at the front-page news story about one person shot to death and four others wounded Wednesday afternoon in Homewood — in broad daylight.
The Homewood North, South and West neighborhoods had 203 violent crimes in 2011, the latest year figures were available from city police. By comparison, the South Side had 125 violent crimes that year.
So, yes, Homewood could use a blitz. Or as Pittsburgh police call it, a “saturation detail.”
Yet the Homewood detail lasted barely more than a month — Feb. 7 to March 10 — from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
Maurita Bryant, an assistant chief with the department, said in an interview before Wednesday's shootings that the detail was successful. She said the effort focused on much of Washington Boulevard, as well as Brushton, Hamilton, Frankstown and Homewood avenues.
A total of 40 arrests were made, including six people charged with firearm violations. Almost half of those arrested were charged with drug possession.
“The detail was designed to be more of a deterrent to prevent additional violent activity anticipated in the area,” she said.
Makes sense, but the Homewood detail is over already, while the one in the South Side continues. Why?
Bryant said January's police shooting of a motorist and his mother on Carson Street brought many complaints from residents there. Homewood's detail began because of a city commander's concern of retaliation stemming from a shooting in early February.
“There was no outcry from the community,” she said.
But why leave an area in obvious need of increased police presence and stay in another neighborhood where the problems can largely be traced to the river of alcohol sold in the business district that runs through it?
Rhonda Sears, 46, a Homewood resident who last year helped organize a major cleanup effort there, said she didn't know about the saturation detail when it was in effect but was happy to hear an effort was made. Sears has an 11-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter. Her brother, Richard, was 20 when he was shot to death on Frankstown Avenue in a case of mistaken identity on May 25, 1986.
Sears grew up in Homewood, but she has considered leaving because she is worried about her young son “getting caught up” in the violence.
“It might be time for me to go so I can save my son,” she said.
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.
- LaRosa Boys & Girls Club of McKeesport remembers war dead
- McKeesport mayor believes city’s ceremony reflects Memorial Day’s true meaning
- Memorial Day marked with several events in Kittanning
- With space to spare, Pittsburgh International draws corporate jet carrier
- Pirates pitcher Morton turns in solid performance in win over Marlins
- Consistency keeps Cellone’s Bakery customers coming back
- ‘Voice of Pittsburgh’ was proud of Mon Valley roots
- Pirates notebook: Morton’s return to Pirates means Liz leaves
- Tesla home battery at $7K, partnered with rooftop solar system, may help reduce power bills
- Accident at West Virginia’s Cheat Lake sends boaters to hospital
- Cops: Man shoots 11-year-old with BB gun in McKeesport; boy critical