Working Together Neighbors PrideTaking ActionContinued
Taking Action for Community Saftey
By Chris CruzRecently, residents throughout Observatory Hill have noticed an increase in illegaldrug traffic within the neighborhood. The situation was made even more seriouswith two possibly drug-related shootings in the span of two weeks. While therewere no injuries associated with the shootings, they served as a wake up call toeveryone in Observatory Hill, and also highlighted what makes our neighborhoodso special.After the incidents, which occurred in Acorn Hill, the neighbors immediately wentinto action. E-mails were sent describing each incident and the neighborsimmediately started planning a meeting to discuss the events. Jason Black andAlonzo Ward, whose property was damaged in one of the shootings, wereinstrumental in rallying their Acorn Hill neighbors to get involved. They workedwith OHI to schedule a meeting with Councilwoman Harris, the Pittsburgh Policeand the Northside Leadership Conference. Prior to the OHI meeting, over 30Acorn Hill neighbors held a planning meeting so that they could speak with onevoice at the bigger meeting. The neighbors worked together, prioritizing issuesand concerns, while getting to know eachother at the same time.Over 50 Observatory Hill residents attended the OHI meeting, held at the Lamb ofGod Church on Perrysville Avenue. The meeting opened as Officer Hodges, thePittsburgh Police liaison officer for Observatory Hill, made an extensivepresentation including statistics showing a decline in "reportable incidents" forthe Northside as a whole and thought that Observatory Hill (OH) was followingthis trend, although no specific data were available. He assured us that ongoingoperations will bring positive results to the area in the near future.Officer Hodges recommended setting up block watches, continuing regularneighborhood meetings, walking the neighborhood with two-way radiocommunications and file U-CAN and Silent Complaint forms which are availableto report incidents. He also warned not to become complacent when thingsimprove.Mark Fatla, Executive Director of the Northside Leadership Conference,recommended participating in the Northside Public Safety Council, an all-volunteer group, coordinated by Karen McLellan of his organization. Hesuggested driving around the neighborhood on our way home to observe unusualbehavior and supported Officer Hodges by emphasizing the need for continuingaction even after current issues have been resolved.You’re invited to a Community Meeting onSaturday, October 30th at 9:00 am to hear anupdate of the Regional Parks Master Plan. Thisis a great opportunity to share your thoughts withParks Conservancy staff and consultants duringa community meeting that will focus onRiverview Park.The two-part session will begin at 9:00 withanoverviewofprogressmadetowardachievingthe goals of the 2000 Regional Parks MasterPlan, followed by an open dialogue aboutcurrent and future needs.At 10:45 am, a mobile workshop will take attendees into the park and provide anopportunitytocommentonthepark’samenitiesandchallenges. Appropriateattireandfootwear are recommended.You are welcome to attend one or both sessions. Please register athttp://www.pitsburghparks.org/masterplan or by calling 412-682-7275 x227. Formore information on this program sponsored by Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, visithttp://www.pittsburghparks.org
Regional Parks Master Plan Update:October 30th at Perry High School
Finally, Darlene Harris addressed many issues that had been brought upranging from barking dogs to truant children, jobs for youth, etc. that areimportant to segments of Observatory Hill and some of which are key toimproving the overall drug problem and social conditions in theneighborhood. For our immediate problems she reviewed the currentcamera program. She promised that money for two-way radios is available,if the block watches can demonstrate a need.Ms. Harris emphasized her view that block watches do, indeed, work andrecommended that the best way to get good results from the police is toprovide them with detailed logs of suspicious activity including licenseplate numbers, descriptions of suspects and their cars and evenphotographs.The main takeaway in all this is simple. By working together, residents canbe effective in reducing crime in their neighborhood. Strong lines ofcommunication, block watches and even just walking around will makeObservatory Hill a less desirable place for drug dealers to conduct theirbusiness. The police cannot stop crime if they are not aware of it. OHI andthe Northside Leadership Conference can provide forms for loggingsuspected drug deals and residents should not be afraid to dial 911 at theslightest hint of trouble. We know our neighborhood best, and we knowwhen things aren't right.
Together as a community, we can make Observatory Hill a safer place for all!
Thanks for Your Involvement All Year
During this time of family holiday reunions and church sponsoredThanksgiving and Christmas programs around Observatory Hill, we wantto thank all those who have been so involved in our community as caringneighbors and as friends. Our churches, schools, youth groups andpublic officials here keep our community connected and a comfortableplace to live. The OHI Board appreciates themany volunteers who make our streets feellike home. Best wishes for the Holidays!