Crunching the data: Homicides, shootings on the rise in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Damon Lincoln’s life was cut short. He died last December on his mother’s birthday, two days before Christmas.

“A couple of masked men came with guns. Forced him inside. They started ransacking the house,” said Lincoln’s uncle, Greg Dearolf.

It happened in Mount Oliver. Lincoln tried to help his mother when he was shot in the back. The family is hoping reward money will help someone come forward.

“We want somebody to come forward and give us some information that can get these guys arrested,” Dearolf said.

From October 2020 to January 2021, the Allegheny County Police Department investigated 37 shootings and 22 homicides. From October 2019 to January 2020, there were 26 shootings and 13 homicides.

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In the City of Pittsburgh, shootings and homicides are rising significantly. This November was the worst month for homicides in the last two years.

Community groups are stepping up to help fight the violence.

“It’s not just a law enforcement issue. It’s not just an outreach issue. It’s a village issue, which is why we are working with MAD DADS South Pittsburgh Peace Makers,” said Rev. Cornell Jones.

The City of Pittsburgh Stop the Violence Initiative is a fairly new movement. Coordinator Jay Gilmer said there’s been success in preventing many community disputes that could have turned violent.

“I’m here to find opportunities for members of the community that want to be involved to play some role in reducing the conditions that make violence prevalent,” Gilmer said.

The group offers resources for victims of violence and has details on activities and initiatives to help people. Leaders say people are responding.

“I’m getting people that are saying, ‘Hey, I used to be a youth worker. It’s time for me to get back in the game.’ Now we are developing a movement, a stop the violence movement,” Jones said.

CLICK HERE to sign up for the STOP the Violence newsletter

The STOP the Violence Office attempts to promote, assist and connect the anti-violence activities sponsored by the City of Pittsburgh with other governmental and private anti-violence activities and with citizens who want to eliminate violence. City sponsored activities include Group Violence Intervention (GVI), the Pittsburgh Police Community Engagement Unit, and Youth & Adult Diversion programs.  One of the principal tools of the Office is their monthly STOP the Violence newsletter highlighting the facts on violence in the City, featuring insights on City sponsored activities and community-based initiatives to prevent violence, and showing how YOU can get involved.

If anyone has any information about the shooting death of Damon Lincoln, they can call the Allegheny County police at 1-833-ALL-TIPS.