PITTSBURGH — On Tuesday, nearly 200 people registered for Mayor Ed Gainey’s meeting for South Side residents and business owners.
During the packed event held at the South Side Market House, many people, including several business owners, stood up and gave Gainey their honest and unfiltered opinions on what needs to be done to improve safety in the area.
The mayor gave a passionate speech, telling business owners that violence destroys profit and public safety makes money. Gainey announced that by working together, the culture of the South Side can change.
Last weekend, Gainey took a late-night walk around the neighborhood following what was a string of violent crimes, including fights and shootings in the area.
Several businesses have been impacted by the violence, including Cambod-ican Kitchen on Carson Street. The restaurant was damaged by bullets when a man took cover from gunfire there. Down the street, Fudge Farm recently announced they’re permanently closing, citing crime as the reason.
“What I saw Saturday night, it just shouldn’t be,” said Gainey on Tuesday. “My message to you and all of Pittsburgh is public safety is our No. 1 priority.”
During the public comment portion of the meeting, business owners listed several grievances, including public drunkenness, loitering including kids under 18 hanging around outside of bars, damaged property,
urinating on sidewalks, drug use, prostitution, sex trafficking and guns, especially in the hands of those underaged.
“The people who visit have no respect for our neighborhood,” said one South Side business owner.
“Forget about the business district, you will lose people who live here,” said a longtime South Side resident.
The public suggested that the mayor implement proactive policing, set curfews, early closings for bars and food vendors and having mounted patrol along Carson Street.
Gainey says he plans to make another late-night visit to the South Side in the coming weeks.
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