Recap of March 2024 Lawrenceville Happenings: Crime in Review and Public Safety

On Thursday, March 14th, the Lawrenceville Happenings Meeting was hosted at CLP – Lawrenceville (279 Fisk St) from 6:30-8 PM by Lawrenceville United and Lawrenceville Corporation. This meeting was hosted in-person with 20 attendees and online via Facebook Live to roughly 14 attendees throughout the meeting. The focus of this Happenings was public safety with the annual crime in review presentation for 2023 by Zone 2 Police Crime Analysis Unit and an overview of Better Street Lawrenceville’s 2023 State of Our Streets report.

The meeting opened with introductions from Dave Breingan, Executive Director at LU, and Sarah Trbovic, Executive Director at LC. They shared an overview of their organizations and an agenda for the meeting.

Before the presentations started, Dave shared about the Right to Counsel+ campaign that LU is working on as part of the Housing Justice Table. A Right to Counsel law would provide low income tenants with free legal representation and counseling services during major housing eviction cases. In most eviction cases nationwide, only 3% of tenants have legal counsel, while 90% of landlords have legal representation. By keeping our neighbors housed we can stabilize our communities and fight displacement. It’s time to reinvest in our communities and help make secure, affordable housing a reality for all Pittsburghers. If you are interested in signing the petition for Right to Counsel+, you can find it at bit.ly/RTCnow and if you would like to get involved in housing justice work, email dave@lunited.org.

Dave and Sarah then introduced Dr. Heath Johnson, the Crime Analysis Coordinator of the Pittsburgh Police. Dr. Johnson reviewed the crime rates of the past year and the 5 year averages of crime in the neighborhood. Some highlights of Dr. Johnson’s presentation include:

  • Part 1 and Part 2 crime rates in Lawrenceville are down from last year and over the past 5 years.
  • There has been an increase in “Disorderly Conduct” crime incidents since 2022 from 12 to 20, but Dr. Johnson noted that is to be somewhat expected in a thriving business district with bars and nightlife.
  • Rates of violent/property crime were highest at stores in the neighborhood, including Family Dollar, Fine Wine and Good Spirits, and Shop N Save.
  • There were 34 calls related to overdoses in 2023, which is down from 38 last year. The availability of Narcan and overdose prevention resources likely plays a large role in the decrease in this number over the past 5 years.

Dr. Johnson then answered community members questions that focused on overdoses, property crimes, and traffic calming. Acting Commander of Zone 2, Commander Novosel, also joined in answering community member questions and sharing how to connect with him as issues in the neighborhood come up. Community members and our presenters also discussed utilizing 311 for any non-emergencies, such as dumpster issues, potholes, etc. and 911 for immediate assistance, such as getting a car towed that is blocking your driveway. You can find the link for 311 in the bullet points at the bottom of this page.

Following Dr. Johnson and Commander Novosel, Armin Samii of Better Streets Lawrenceville presented on the State of Our Streets Report for 2023. Over 200 people provided the feedback that led to this report, with 170 respondents being Lawrenceville residents. Armin reviewed intersections and areas in the neighborhood where people feel most and least safe and then highlighted top priority and issue areas for folks. 40th and Butler was an intersection of particular concern for folks, as well as 40th and Penn. Moving forward, respondents wanted to see enforcement of speed limits, traffic calming measure put in place, and sidewalk repairs. To review the full summary of the report, downloaded the March 2024 Happenings PowerPoint below.

The meeting closed with a review of upcoming events and thanks to all for attending. If you would have questions/concerns, please email info@lunited.org or call 412-802-7220. You can watch the meeting, review the PowerPoints, and get connected to the groups and presenters below.

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