Monday, January 3, 2011

Coalition Against Violence: Stop The Killings

In reaction to published reports that the rate at which Pittsburgh Police are able to solve or “clear” homicide cases slipped in 2010, the co-convener of the Coalition Against Violence says his hope is to get the number of murders to as close to zero as possible. Co-convener Tim Stevens says, “We literally must have a zero tolerance for violence. We have to put value on life, and somewhere along the line, it appears we have begun to devalue life because how can you explain our ability to so quickly and so readily kill each other with guns?”

Stevens says it is extremely important to the community and to the families of the victims to have the crimes solved. “They know they will not get their loved ones back, but at least to know that the person who did the crime is found and is serving time is helpful to their mental health, and the mental health of the community in that people are off the streets who need to be off the streets,” says Stevens. He says that begins with better police/community relations. He says he hopes that will be a focus of everyone in 2011. Stevens believes residents need to understand that police have a very tough job, but police need to understand how much power they have. “They have the ability to possible kill you and it needs to be handled in a very diligent and protective manner so that the community can give the police as much respect as possible.”

Stevens says the relationship between police and the black community was damaged by the beating of Jordan Miles and it will take a great deal of effort to over come that damage. However, he says the community must work with police whenever they have information. He says it is not “snitching” to help the police. “My understanding is ‘snitching’ is between those who are committing crimes, snitching on others who are committing crimes. We are talking about the community who is not committing crimes, to share information with police, which hopefully will help the crimes be solved more expeditiously,” says Stevens.

The Post Gazette reports the clearance rate in 2010 fell to 50% from 72% in 2009. However, there are still cases pending in court and police are still working on other cases that could result in arrests this year.

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