Thursday, March 17, 2011

City Council Examines Nuisance Properties

The Allegheny County District Attorney warned about high crime rates in the Hill District during a post agenda meeting today at City Council. The meeting, which focused on nuisance properties and crime, was hosted by Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith and included the City Solicitor and District Attorney, as well as members of the Bureau of Building Inspection, the Law Department, Pittsburgh Police, and Red Five Security.

District Attorney Stephen Zallapa says that crime in the Hill District is concentrated to the housing projects of Addison Terrace, Bedford Dwellings, and Reed Roberts. He says that between January and September 2010 the Hill District saw a large amount of crime. "The Mayor had made it clear to me and the City Solicitor has made it clear to me that if it's necessary to take neighborhoods back block by block, that's what we will do. We have received substantial assistance from other agencies within the city."

Zallapa says that success has been achieved in the Hill District with the razing of Reed Roberts. Since the residents have started their move, crime in the area has decreased 90%. He did point out that the crime rates in other neighborhoods might have increased due to a cut back a few years ago by the Housing Authority in its police capabilities.

City Solicitor Daniel Regan says that their major concern of the quality of life for the residents effected by nuisance properties. He says that the March 2010 creation of the Nuisance Property Task Force has been helpful and cause for inter department coordination.

Zappala says that he would like to see a change made in how Addison Terrace is operated, citing that the Housing Authority needs to create a workable plan. He says that if correct actions are made, crime can be reduced by 75-80%.

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