DUQUESNE (KDKA) — The Head Start program at Duquesne Place in the Hilltop Parkview Manor housing complex in Duquesne hosts some of the more than 600 kids who live in the complex.
They are now learning and having fun, not really aware of what the atmosphere was like in the same complex a couple of years ago.
In January of 2012, for example, 16-year-old Daniel Peek was killed, and his 14-year-old brother and grandmother were injured in their own home when they opened their front door and gunfire erupted.
But a number of security improvements, along with early intervention are changing the neighborhood and its outlook.
According to Allegheny County’s chief prosecutor, whose office spent about $15,000 in crime fighting improvements, there has been a noticed reduction in violent crime.
“You don’t have to arrest people to really impact crime,” said Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.
The D.A. and local officials have a collaborative effort to make the scene of such tragedy a distant memory.
Brandi Washington notices the difference now.
“Duquesne had a lot of stuff when I was growing up, now we just… it was going downhill, and now we’re trying to bring it back up,” said Washington. “Hopefully, we can make a change by making a start right here.”
The coalition also works with the Allegheny Intermediate Unit as they are still grappling with how to financially operate and stabilize Duquesne’s city schools. It’s an emotional issue.
“When we speak about our children, this is my 16th year, and these kids are ours and they deserve the best,” said Duquesne City School District Superintendent Barbara McDonnell.