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SOUTH SIDE (KDKA) – Crime is down 37 percent in the South Side, according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala, and it’s all thanks to security cameras and smart policing.
“To only have 400 incidents, that’s a good number and we’re moving in the right direction and for the past couple of years, we were going in the wrong one,” said Zappala.
He credits the South Side’s new implementation of security cameras for cutting back on crime and helping to provide prosecutors with the evidence necessary to bring criminals to justice. Zappala told a room of city leaders and business owners in the South Side on Thursday morning that a jury doesn’t want to hear about a crime—they want to see it—and these cameras provide prosecutors with key evidence for court.
Zappala played videos from the South Side, including the chilling video that shows the moment Pittsburgh restaurant owner Adnan Pehlivan allegedly began stalking his victim. Those moments lead up to when police say Pehlivan allegedly broke into the victim’s home and sexually assaulted her.
Zappala also played the security footage from when a drunk motorcyclist allegedly struck and assaulted two people. Undercover cops quickly responded and kicked the suspect’s bike out from underneath him when he attempted to pick it up and speed away.
Just last week, Zappala said that investigators utilized the county’s new license plate cameras to locate a victim’s stolen car. There’s a total of 156 license plate cameras in 55 locations throughout the county.
Investigators spotted the white Cadillac belonging to Kevin Thompson, the Carrick man found murdered and dismembered inside his home. A camera spotted the vehicle at the intersection of Pioneer Avenue and West Liberty Boulevard in the days following the murder. Police believe it was Thompson’s roommate and alleged killer, John Dickinson, driving the victim’s car around the South Hills.
“The defendant in that case at some point stole the victim’s car. He had used the car and we actually picked the car up 76 times,” said Zappala.
Zappala said they can now present that video as evidence in court as Dickinson awaits trial for the crime.
Zappala said the total number of functioning cameras will continue to expand beyond the South Side.
The county set up 450 cameras in 75 spots across the county, capturing criminals in high resolution—as clear as the picture of your television.