11 Investigates: Thieves strike when fewer Pittsburgh police officers patrolling

PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates has learned that burglars are targeting cars in the early morning hours when fewer police are on the road.

And among the targeted areas was a city fire station parking lot that was hit early Monday morning.

A Public Safety Spokesperson told 11 Investigates that Pittsburgh police plan to increase patrols in that neighborhood.

But given the police staffing cuts, that could be difficult to do, especially in the early morning hours when fewer police are on the road.

Surveillance video from the fire station shows thieves breaking into a firefighter’s vehicle at Engine 23 in Carrick.

It happened early Monday morning when police patrols had been drastically reduced because the police chief said the call volume is lower.

We showed the surveillance video to Pittsburgh City Councilman Anthony Coghill, who represents the community where the break-ins occurred.

“There have been a rash of car break-ins in the middle of the night. I worry that because of the lack of police we have on the overnight shift that we’re not able to respond to these things, or maybe we are not catching them where we typically would have in the past, so it’s a concern of mine,” said Coghill.

A public safety spokesperson confirms that another nearby resident’s car was also targeted.

Public safety did not know what was taken during the car burglaries.

During the past several months, neighbors told 11 Investigates that cars on Dartmore, Fairland, Walton and Queenston have all been hit.

The break-ins are happening in Carrick and Overbrook.

“I just heard about it this week. A few of the neighbors had mentioned it,” said a resident.

“It’s a very quiet neighborhood so this is pretty surprising to hear,” said another resident.

A public safety spokesperson said they are aware of the break-ins and police in Zone 3 plan to increase patrols, but that could be difficult, especially during the early morning hours when staffing has been reduced.

As 11 investigators reported during one recent overnight shift, only seven cars covered the entire city.

But residents said there’s one thing you can do to make it more difficult for the thieves.

“Lock the doors. I’ve been locking the doors for a few years now. I remember when I first moved in, I would leave the doors unlocked all day long, and I never even thought about it, but I guess that’s one of the precautions,” said one neighbor.

From the surveillance video, it appears that the thieves are going car to car checking for vehicles that are unlocked.

A public safety spokesperson said she didn’t know what was taken during the break-ins Monday morning.

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