Task force aims to eliminate violence in McKees Rocks area

MCKEES ROCKS, Pa. — McKees Rocks is a community with hundreds of years of history but now is looked at for its crime.

“Twenty years ago when you ask that question, I would say I’m proud to be from McKees Rocks, a lot of people now would answer it differently,” said Borough President Archie Brinza.

Borough leaders are working to bring life back by investing in safety. It’s not something they can do alone, that’s why behind the scenes a partnership has developed with a task force focused on violence.

“Violence is robberies, shootings, stabbings, carjackings. They happen all day, every day. The main idea was to combat violence on the street level,” said an officer on that force.

The key to success is a whole lot of undercover work, that’s why we aren’t identifying this officer.  He’s just one who works alongside Stowe Township, County Police, the Housing Authority, the FBI and the Attorney General’s Office. it’s more resources on the streets of the Stowe and Rocks communities and they believe it’s working.

“The firearms. The serial numbers scratched off. Full auto pistols, illegally modified rifles, we are taking all sorts of weapons. It’s been very successful.”

These operations come at a heavy cost. In the last 14 months, multiple task force officers were fired at while working the streets. We reported on one situation on Benwood Avenue that ended with the agent’s car riddled with nearly three dozen bullet holes from an assault rifle.

“It’s young people with guns that don’t care. There is your equation. Gun plus young person that has no fear and no value of life equals the amount of shootings the county and state have seen recently.”

You can’t undo the crime that’s already occurred this year, so where do you go from here?

“To lessen the amount of victimization in this town is ultimately what we want. There are good people that live here still. There are transplants come in here to do crime and criminal activity because they think it’s easy.”

So, the work continues to not make it the easy place for future crimes. With that comes growth and new tools for crime deterrence as they hope to add a K-9 and officer to the force.

“We can use that K9 as a tool to search buildings, to detect narcotics and detect weapons even. Weapons that have been fired, weapons that have been used recently, track people that have done crime and now running.”

To get a K9 is a huge investment for this department, that’s where they need the public’s help.

The Borough is holding a fundraiser dinner on May 11 from 1 to 7 p.m. at the VFW Vesle Post 418 in McKees Rocks. The tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the Borough building as the proceeds will benefit the K-9 Fund.

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