PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — As the summer moves forward, there appears to be more and more shootings and many of the victims are teenagers.
In response to what police are calling gang violence, they are stepping up their presence, particularly in the city’s North Side section.
After 22 incidents of gunfire this past week on Pittsburgh’s North Side, Thursday’s was the deadliest.
Two young men, ages 15 and 21, were found in a parked car. Both had been shot multiple times.
“In the last five days, we’ve had four victims, counting the two this morning, which is homicide,” said Chief Nate Harper, of Pittsburgh Police. “And then there’s two other victims that were shot and hit.”
Using a North Side map as a backdrop, Chief Harper said his department was about to launch a campaign aimed at curbing gun and gang-related violence – putting more officers on the streets, implementing more saturation patrols and making more traffic stops.
“The rest of these shootings are basically from 11 o’clock at night to six o’clock in the morning,” said Chief Harper.
Police suspect the recent surge in North Side gun violence is all gang related.
Another incident they singled out, the shots that were fired outside a funeral home on Perrysville Avenue earlier this week where a visitation was going on for a 19-year-old, who police said had alleged gang ties.
“We’ll have zero tolerance,” said Chief Paul Donaldson, of Pittsburgh Police. “The officers will be on the lookout for any suspicious activity, in particular we are trying to get guns off the streets.”
“We may not be able to stop the first shooting, but we will do our best to stop the retaliation, the next shooting,” said Roland Slade, of One Vision, One Live.
Back in the 1990s, the One Vision-One Life program was credited by many local leaders with helping to defuse the city’s gang problem.
Slade said the group would like to take a more active role now, but grant money has virtually dried up.
“The problem has been funding,” Slade said. “We’ve lost at least over a half a million dollars in funding, and like I said, we’re hamstrung right now.”
In addition to city police, probation and parole officers and sheriff’s deputies will be involved in the North Side anti-violence crackdown.
Deputy Chief Donaldson says police suspect a lot of the local troublemakers play video games during the day at home and are out at night, in a group, and cause problems.