On Tuesday, Feb. 16th at 6:30 p.m., LU hosted our February “Happenings” meeting, with a focus on recent crime trends. Dr. Heath Johnson from the Bureau of Police led a presentation on crime statistics for Lawrenceville in 2020 compared to 5-year averages. Lieutenant Lackner, Acting Commander of Zone 2 Police, provided an update on recent issues of concern, including a murder on the 4400 block of Davison Street, the arrests related to the bomb explosion in Lower Lawrenceville, and more. LU also provided some community updates.
Some key takeaways from the conversation with the Police:
- Following City trends, total crime in Lawrenceville went down significantly in 2020 from the previous year (15%) and from the 5-year average (28%).
- Violent crimes in Lawrenceville, however, went up by 14% in 2020, driven by an increase in robberies. There was also a murder on Kent Way. Zone 2 Police provided context that the robberies were largely people known to each other. Even this increase in violent crime in 2020 represents a 39% decrease over the 5 year average. No arrests have been made in the murder on Kent Way and the investigation is ongoing.
- Property crimes were down 31% in 2020 from the previous year and 43% from the 5 year average, driven by reduction in Burglary & Theft.
- Part II (less serious) crimes were also down 6% from the previous year. In particular, the year saw big decreases in simple assault, DUIs, and public drunkenness. However, 2020 saw an increase in vandalism and disorderly conducts.
- Heroin overdoses dropped significantly since highs in 2017, however have been increasing year by year since.
- Regarding the murder on Davison Street, police believe this was not a random shooting. While they have made no arrest yet, they have a suspect, who they believe was in the car at the time of the case, and they are building a case.
- Regarding the bomb incident in Lower Lawrenceville, an arrest was made with federal charges, and they believe the threat has been removed from the neighborhood.
To access all the materials from the meeting:
- Watch the full recording of the meeting by Zoom HERE or by Facebook Live HERE.
- View LU’s presentation HERE.
- View Dr. Johnson’s presentation on crime trends in Lawrenceville for 2020 HERE.
The first Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meeting of 2020 was held on January 28th at 6 p.m. at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville branch. There were approximately 40 people in attendance.
- State Rep. Adam Ravenstahl introduced himself as the state representative for 6th Ward (Lower Lawrenceville) and parts of 9th Ward (Central Lawrenceville). He noted Rep. Sara Innamorato covers the 10th Ward (Upper Lawrenceville). He noted he has been an advocate to help acquire funding for Arsenal Park’s master plan implementation, as well as the Lawrenceville community groups and affordable housing in Lawrenceville and beyond. He noted that budget season is coming around and he will be advocating for quality schools. He also noted that his office will be hosting a shredding event at Busy Beaver in the months ahead, and that his office is able to help residents get Senior Citizen ConnectCards to ride the Port Authority for free.
- PWSA presented on their lead line replacement program and noted that large portions of Lower and Upper Lawrenceville are on the schedule. They are seeking permissions to replace private lead lines for free at the same time that they replace the public lead lines. A list of streets is available here. Residents can check pgh2o.com/leadmap to see if their property is eligible, or call PWSA’s Lead Help Desk at 412.255.8987. See PWSA’s full presentation HERE.
- Dr. Heath Johnson, a crime analyst with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, provided a presentation on 2019 crime trends across Lawrenceville. Click HERE to view that presentation. Key takeaways were: citywide crime was down in 2019 and even more pronounced in Lawrenceville; the most sizeable decrease in Lawrenceville has been in Violent Crimes, down 56% over 5 year average; concentrations remain along Butler Street corridor (51st-55th and 40th-45th), which is expected in a busy commercial district; heroin overdoses dropped significantly between 2017 and 2018 with modest increases in 2019; there have been small increases in some “Nuisance” crimes, and large decreases in others.
- Zone 2 Police shared some safety tips for residents. Thefts from auto are down, but residents should continue to take belongings out of their cars, as criminals do not break into vehicles that are empty. Continue to watch out for unoccupied houses under construction, as these have been targeted for burglaries for tools and construction equipment when the contractors have gone home for the night.
Please let us know what content you would like to see for future Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meetings: info@LUnited.org or 412-802-7220.
The April Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meeting was held on 4/16/2019 at the Lawrenceville branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Please see below for the presentations:
- Presentation from Pittsburgh Police Sex Assault & Family Crisis Unit
- Responding to Trauma – Pittsburgh Action Against Rape
- Crime Report for Q1 of 2019 – Zone 2 Police
- Butler Street Design Guidelines – Studio for Spatial Practice
Block watches will resume in May and June and the next Lawrenceville-Wide Public Safety Meeting will be held on 7/16/2019 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lawrenceville branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, focusing on traffic calming and mobility safety.
On Monday, January 28th, Lawrenceville United hosted the FBI units working on hate crimes and domestic terrorism for a presentation on hate crimes and hate incidents. Over 80 people attended. The full presentation is available HERE. Special thanks to the FBI, the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Zone 2, and all those who attended.
Some key takeaways:
- Federal hate crime laws protect the following groups: race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender, and gender identity.
- Hate crimes and hate incidents are on the rise nationally. Lawrenceville has seen about a dozen hate crimes or hate incidents in the past 6 months, which has been a disturbing new trend.
- We all must be PROACTIVE and PREVENTIVE in addressing hate. We can’t prosecute our way out of the problem. Recognizing the behavioral indicators of extremist and hate-based violence, and DOING something, is key to preventing violence.
- While the First Amendment protects many displays of offensive and hateful speech, a “hate incident,” while not a crime, is still useful to the FBI as it can be an important piece of the puzzle for their intelligence, intervention, and prevention. Hate incidents should be reported. The First Amendment is not extended to criminal acts based on intolerance, purposefully intimidating speech, actions which can be interpreted by a reasonable person to be a serious intent to cause harm, or the planning/preparation/commission/facilitation of violence. A true threat puts the recipient in fear of bodily harm.
- The FBI can’t “surf” for offensive or hateful speech or materials, but if they receive a tip from the community about it, they have the ability to look into it, which is another reason why tips are important.
- Residents can report to the FBI through 412-432-4000 or www.fbi.gov/tips. The FBI also encourages residents to use resources like Lawrenceville United (412.802.7220 or info@LUnited.org) to relay information to the FBI if you wish to remain anonymous or don’t want to contact the FBI directly.
- All of the white supremacist flyers seen around the neighborhood haven’t had permission of the property owners to be hung there, in violation of city ordinance. If you come across these flyers, please document it and report to Lawrenceville United.
If you have any questions or suggestions for other ways that LU can address this trend, please contact us at 412-802-7220 or info@LUnited.org.
LU hosted our first Lawrenceville-wide Public Safety Meeting on Tuesday 1/15/2019 at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – Lawrenceville branch. Big thanks to the library for hosting, Dr. Heath Johnson from Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Zone 2 Police’s Commander Zett, Officer Davis, and Det. Malloy, Public Safety Director Hissrich and Dan Shak, as well as the offices of Councilwoman Gross, Rep. Innamorato, and Rep. Ravenstahl.
In case you missed the meeting, please see the materials below:
Pittsburgh Police Presentation on 2018 Crime Trends
Dept. of Public Safety Presentation on Security Cameras
Your TL;DR version….
The bad news: total crimes are up from last year, driven largely by an increase in property crimes — mainly thefts from auto and burglaries.
The good news: violent crimes continued to decrease, 5 year averages for total crimes are down, Lawrenceville remains safe compared to Zone 2 and the City of Pittsburgh, and 12 public safety cameras are going up around Lawrenceville in the next couple weeks to deter and solve crime.
Regularly scheduled block watches will resume in February and March. Our next quarterly public safety meeting will be held in April. Please input on what content you’d like to see the April meeting cover to info@LUnited.org or call 412-802-7220.
In case you missed the 9th Ward Block Watch on 8/21/2018, here are the materials that were shared:
Join us on 9/18/2018 at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s Lyceum for the next 9th Ward Block Watch.