Improved technology, new policing making Pittsburgh safer

PITTSBURGH — Improved technology and new policing strategies have helped make Pittsburgh safer, according to police.

Target 11 compared crime data from 2007 to 2017 and found 80 of 90 Pittsburgh neighborhoods saw a drop in crime. That includes Downtown, East Liberty, Homewood and the Hill District where the number of crimes plunged from 603 in 2007 to 350 two years ago.

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"I'd say a mixture of good policing that does it for the investigations, getting communities more involved with things," Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert said. "Communities have changed over the years."

Chief Schubert and Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich agree it's a combination of initiatives, including the use of ShotSpotter, which uses microphones detect gunshots, as well as surveillance cameras and neighborhood resource officers.

"The public is seeing the same officers day in and day out and there trusting these officers," Hissrich said. "They're willing to talk, where I don't think, before they were seeing different officers everyday, but here the officers are taking an interest in the community."

On the flip side, some neighborhoods have seen a spike in crime, including the home of the Pirates and Steelers -- Pittsburgh's North Side.

Rachel Soria left Pittsburgh a decade ago when the North Side saw 89 incidents. In 2017, that number jumped to 118 -- many of them thefts.

"It's a lot different," Soria said. "A lot of this wasn't here when i was here."

The number of property crimes and violent crimes have nearly doubled in the last decade in Regent Square, going from 25 in 2007 to 40 in 2017.

And not even Mayor Bill Peduto's neighborhood is immune. Point Breeze has seen a slight uptick.

"What you end up seeing is a lot of car break-ins within the business districts," Mayor Peduto said.

The mayor meets with the police chief and public safety director every week to discuss crime trends. He said police are now analyzing crime data to pinpoint hot locations and concentrate resources and manpower in those neighborhoods.

"We've, actually, in the past two years been able to utilize data in a way we never have before," Peduto said. "We are stopping crime from happening."

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