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City neighborhoods fight back

| Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2005, 12:00 p.m.

Nearly two dozen Pittsburgh neighborhoods have scheduled activities today as part of the 22nd annual National Night Out.

National Night Out, sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch, is a crime and drug prevention program designed to generate support for local anti-crime programs, strengthen neighborhood spirit and partnership with police and send a message to criminals that communities are organized and fighting back.

The event, which had the participation of 400 communities in 23 states when it began in 1984, is observed in more than 10,000 communities in 50 states, as well as military bases, U.S. territories and Canada, according to the National Association of Town Watch's Web site.

Organizers hope to avoid a repeat of last year when the event resembled Devil's Night in Pittsburgh. Two people were shot to death in Squirrel Hill, a woman and teen were shot and wounded in Allentown, two people were locked inside the trunks of vehicles after a burglary in Greenfield, and a stabbing and attempted rape occurred in Mt. Washington.

Bicky Goldszer, a member of the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, said her organization has been involved in National Night Out from the beginning.

"The important thing is for neighbors to get to know their neighbors. People have got to be responsible for their own," Goldszer said.

She said the organization is planning events on the streets where violence occurred last year.

"It was a violent night. We have worked on those streets and maybe we can prevent it," Goldszer said.

Events are scheduled between 7 and 9 p.m. in eight parts of Squirrel Hill. Locations are: 5846 Ferree St., 5643 Northumberland St., 6444 Monitor St., 5839 Hobart St., 6541 Darlington Road, 6561 Beacon St., 5533 Aylesboro Ave. and 6313 Douglas St.

Other activities are scheduled at:

Hill District, Hill House, 1835 Centre Ave., 5 to 8 p.m.; Lawrenceville, 4825 Butler St., 6 to 9 p.m. and 286 Main St., 7 to 9 p.m.; Oak Hill, 280 Burrows St. 4 to 8:30 p.m.; Stanton Heights, Stanton Courts East & West, 4 to 7 p.m.; Shadyside, 4700 block of Wallingford St., 7 to 9 p.m.; and Oakland, Robinson Street, 7 to 9 p.m.

Also: Knoxville, Orchard Place and Knox Avenue, 7 to 9 p.m.; Beechview, Beechview and Broadway avenues, 7 to 9 p.m.; Brookline, 949 Woodbourne Ave., 6 to 10 p.m.; Allentown, Hilltop United Methodist Church, 633 E. Warrington Ave., 6:30 to 9 p.m.; the Park Place section of Point Breeze, Abbott Street, 7 to 9 p.m.; and Greenfield, 600 block of Melbourne St., 7 to 9 p.m.

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