Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crime-Reduction Effort Set for Review Pirc Program Faces Questions

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Crime-Reduction Effort Set for Review Pirc Program Faces Questions

Article excerpt

Although a pending request to authorize $150,000 for a 5-year- old city crime-fighting initiative is likely to be passed today by Pittsburgh City Council, Mayor Bill Peduto is planning an overall review of the program and at least one council member is openly questioning its effectiveness.

The Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime, launched in 2009, is seeking council approval for a $150,000 professional services agreement with Goodwill of Southwestern Pennsylvania that city public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said is related to providing job skills, coaching and connections to individuals at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violent crime.

The proposal passed council's standing committee last week, although not without some resistance.

"I have been questioning the effectiveness of the program for quite some time," Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said in an interview, adding that she recorded six shootings in three weeks in her West End-centered district. "There was no response from PIRC . that I'm aware of."

Ms. Kail-Smith, the lone vote against the resolution, said she would prefer to see city money go to neighborhood groups currently operating on a volunteer basis and producing better results.

There were 46 killings in the city last year, up from 40 in 2012 and 43 in 2011 although down from the 57 recorded in 2010. For the 10-year span beginning in 2001, homicides peaked at 74 in 2008 before falling to 40 the year after.

"There's still a tremendous amount of violence in the city and I don't see a lot of results from the program," Ms. Kail-Smith said.

Councilman Ricky Burgess, who along with former Mayor Luke Ravenstahl helped roll out PIRC in late 2008, said Mr. Peduto's administration is expected to create a new version that will be shaped by the new police chief.

In an interview, Mr. Burgess said that the program has had "varying levels of success" but that it was time for a reassessment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.