Pittsburgh city officials talk about new plan to attack violence on South Side

PITTSBURGH — 11 Investigates first told you about the new approach to tackling a recent spike in crime on the South Side.

That new approach, according to an internal email obtained by 11 Investigates, involves four more officers in cars patrolling side streets, parking lots and alleys off of Carson Street, a popular nighttime spot with bars and restaurants that attracts thousands every weekend.

Just last weekend at the intersection of Carson and 17th Streets a man was shot. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition.

According to that internal email, the shooting this past weekend was the third shooting on the South Side in three weeks.

Channel 11 Chief Investigator Rick Earle spoke with the Mayor and the Police Chief about this new approach and the recent shootings.

Mayor Ed Gainey said overall crime is down on the South Side.

“We’ve reduced it dramatically, but the last couple weeks it picked up. You just heard the chief talk about the new plan he’s put in place to ensure that,” said Mayor Gainey.

In addition to the seven officers already assigned to Carson Street on the weekends, four more police officers in patrol cars will now be assigned to cover the side streets, alleys and parking lots, where police have seen crime spilling over from Carson Street.

Earle asked Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto about the new approach.

“We have a responsible approach to enforcement. The behaviors there are lessened greatly but we haven’t been able to eliminate it,” said Scirotto.

The chief is confident the additional side street patrols along with the other officers already posted on Carson Street during the weekend will help but he acknowledges it will take time.

“That’s about three of four years in the making and it takes time to change behaviors, but we are committed to it. The mayor’s office is committed to it. He’s tasked me to make sure we eliminate that type of violence and that’s my goal,” said Scirotto.

It’s unclear how long these new side street patrols will last, but the plan right now is to have them working during the busy nighttime hours Thursday through Sunday.

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