PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — May 25, 2008 was a horrific day along Margaretta Avenue in Braddock.
A 25-year-old man was shot to death in a gun battle involving assault rifles.
It was the sixth murder in the Borough since Mayor John Fetterman took office in 2005.
The tattoos on Fetterman’s arm mark each violent death.
“Each one of these represents a life cut short tragically,” Fetterman said.
He knows the stories behind the victims.
It’s safe to say, he has a passion for ending crime and cleaning up the streets.
“When you see these kinds of things up close and in many cases you’ve known the victims, it definitely affects you,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman is hoping he never has to add another date.
There has not been a homicide in Braddock in five years.
“Mothers aren’t losing sons, children aren’t losing fathers, public safety is the most important thing in our community,” Fetterman said.
Fetterman says it’s been a team effort between the residents and police. Over the years, the department has really beefed up targeted patrols.
Surveillance cameras have been installed in areas known to be problem spots.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office has also played a key role. In 2008, it conducted a round up that hit the gang issue in Braddock at its core.
Fighting crime though, is just one part of Fetterman’s plan to bring Braddock back to life.
Mayor Fetterman says he knows a complete transformation won’t happen overnight, but there are signs of progress, new developments like an old UPMC Braddock hospital, which is now under construction. It’ll be a new urgent care center, along with 24 housing units — plus office and retail space.
“Keep believing in your hometown, just keep believing that these kinds of things are possible and we should come to expect them,” Fetterman said.
There is still a lot work to be done, but there are certainly signs of hope.