Pittsburgh’s South Side has had largest number of violent crimes for four years running

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For four years, the South Side Flats has had the largest number of violent crimes in Pittsburgh, and the situation has become so bad that the Public Safety Department has created a new position to help cut crimes against patrons of bars and nightclubs there.

Maya Henry, who’s been on the job for about two weeks as the city’s “nighttime economy manager,” will work with restaurants and bars to reduce violent incidents on the South Side and in other neighborhoods such as East Liberty and North Oakland, said Sonya Toler, a spokeswoman for the department.

Mirroring a citywide trend, violent crime in the South Side Flats has dropped since 2010, but police still reported 102 violent incidents there in 2013, according to figures released Monday by the Pittsburgh Police.

Crime statistics for the city are available online only since 2010.

Since 2010, violent crime in the city as a whole fell 15 percent, while serious property crimes dropped eight percent. Police reported more than 1,300 fewer crimes to the FBI in 2013 than in 2010, according to an analysis by PublicSource of crime data from the Police Department.

In 2013, overall crime in Pittsburgh dropped 6.6 percent. However, murders, rapes and aggravated assaults all increased from 2012. The police attributed the rise in rapes to a change in the FBI’s definition to include male victims for the first time.

Each year, police departments across the country report to the FBI using a unified set of standards for defining crime.

Violent crime includes homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault, while property crimes include burglary, theft, motor vehicle theft and arson.

In Pennsylvania, violent crime was down 4.5 percent from 2010 through 2012. Property crime was basically unchanged. Nationally, violent crime was down nearly three percent and property crime was down 1.5 percent over the same period.
State and national figures were not available for 2013.

PublicSource analyzed crime data in Pittsburgh from 2010 through 2013. Searchable data by neighborhood is available at PublicSource.org. Key points from the data:

Worst neighborhoods

For each of the past four years, the South Side Flats neighborhood, which includes many of the bars on E. Carson St., had the largest number of violent crimes. East Liberty had the second highest number of violent crimes in 2010 and 2013, while downtown (officially called the central business district) had the second highest number in 2011 and 2012.

Despite having fewer residents than the South Side Flats and East Liberty, Homewood North and Homewood South have been among the five neighborhoods with the most violent crime the past two years.

Homewood area has most murders

Pittsburgh police recorded 183 murders in the city from 2010 through 2013. Homewood South and Homewood North were identified as the deadliest neighborhoods. Over the four-year period, Homewood South had 12 murders, including four in 2013. Homewood North had 11 murders, including five in 2013. Nearby Larimer had 10 murders in the past four years, four of which were in 2013.

Thirty-two of Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods had no homicides over the four-year period. And 24 neighborhoods had just one. Thirty-four had more than one.

Among the neighborhoods in the last category are Middle Hill, East Liberty, Knoxville and Terrace Village, all with eight murders in the past four years. East Hills, Garfield, Bedford Dwellings and Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar all had seven murders. Beltzhoover, Fineview and Perry South all had six murders.

Citywide, police reported 46 murders in 2013, up from 40 in 2012.

Changing: East Liberty and Lawrenceville

Since 2010, crime overall has dropped in East Liberty, a trendy spot for bars, restaurants and retail. But the neighborhood still ranked second in violent crime in 2013 (behind the South Side Flats), with 99 violent crimes recorded.

Violent crime in East Liberty spiked nearly 27 percent in 2013 compared to the previous year, when police recorded 78 violent crimes.

East Liberty fared better in property crime stats, which declined more than 15 percent since 2010, when police recorded 420 property crimes. The neighborhood still ranks fifth in the city in property crimes.

Altogether, violent and property crimes are down more than 17 percent in the neighborhood since 2010.

Lawrenceville has also seen an influx of new businesses and residents in recent years. Both violent and property crimes have dropped in the Upper, Central and Lower Lawrenceville neighborhoods.

Crime dropped most sharply overall in Lower Lawrenceville.

Safest neighborhoods

Three East End neighborhoods and three of the city’s outermost neighborhoods were among the safest in 2013. Squirrel Hill North, Squirrel Hill South and Swisshelm Park had some of the lowest violent crime rates. The other three other neighborhoods with low violent crime rates are all on the city’s southern and western periphery: Fairywood, New Homestead and Banksville.

Surrounding Squirrel Hill are other neighborhoods with low rates of violent crime, including Greenfield, Regent Square and Point Breeze.

Further north, Stanton Heights, Morningside and Highland Park continue to rank among the city’s safer areas.
Hill District

From 2010 through 2013, violent crime in Hill District neighborhood of Terrace Village dropped 65 percent and property crime dropped more than 57 percent.

Violent crime has also fallen in the other four Hill District neighborhoods, but none more than Terrace Village. Crime rates there in 2013 looked less like the other Hill District neighborhoods and more like Point Breeze North.

One Terrace Village resident said the drop in crime may be attributed to the demolition of the Addison Terrace public housing complex.

The drop in crime could also be attributed to the loss in neighborhood population from the public housing complex.

Dan Wood, Chief of Staff for District 6 Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, who represents the Hill District, estimated that 800 to 900 people lived at Addison Terrace before the demolition.

Reach Jeffrey Benzing at 412-315-0265 or at jbenzing@publicsource.org. Reach Eric Holmberg at 412-315-0266 or at eholmberg@publicsource.org

This article originally appeared July 29, 2013 at:

http://publicsource.org/investigations/pittsburgh-s-south-side-has-had-largest-number-of-violent-crimes-for-four-years#.VATEr0jrT10

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