PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s something people haven’t seen in Homewood in years, police officers — out of their cars — walking a beat. It’s so-called community-oriented policing, and folks there have taken notice.

“The presence itself makes a difference,” says one resident.

Trying to heal the rift in police-community relations, the Peduto administration has put 14 recently-graduated young officers on the street with directives to walk the neighborhoods of Homewood, Garfield and East Liberty.

The mission is to get to know the people and the merchants by name, to hear their problems and address them.

Already, longtime residents like Steve Price say they’ve had an effect on open air drug sales and prostitution.

“They’re an asset. Without them, a lot that usually goes on, it just stops. It ceased when they see them,” said Price.

Mayor Bill Peduto calls the patrols the new face of the Pittsburgh Police.

“Eye contact, communicating, becoming more personal,” says Mayor Peduto.

According to the mayor, this kind one-to-one contact is the way to gain trust, open up the flow of information and ultimately solve crime.

“You work on that relationship, you build it until when a crime occurs, the community supplies that information, or even better, prevent that crime from ever happening,” Mayor Peduto said.

The administration is trying to bring the bureau up to full-strength, allowing graduates from the next two classes to take on similar duties throughout the city. But in Homewood, they’re already bearing fruit.

“I tell you that I can come out here and talk to my buddy and I don’t need to be ducking,” says James Rini, of Homewood.

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