By: Nicole Ford
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Community and city leaders gathering on Monday to call on the people to help curb the spike in violence.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Police Investigating Hill District, Knoxville, East Hills Shootings Within 12 Hours Of One Another
“It’s all hands-on deck y’all, all hands-on deck whatever it is from the faith community to the coaches from the community mothers to the community fathers everyone has a role,” said Rev. Cornell Jones.
We’ve talked about community policing and increased patrols, but the community said it doesn’t want more police.
“It’s going to take the village to save the village,” Jones said.
The goal is to put the heart back in the streets and the people who know those streets best are the ones who live there.
“I’m not only a community leader, a pastor, but I am a relative to the two that were lost last week. Those are my baby cousins,” said Rev. Michael Day with Legacy International Worship Center.
Day said gun violence is not new to his Northside neighborhood.
“We are in a pandemic within a pandemic. Coronavirus is just an extension of the trauma our community has been in for generations for years,” Day said.READ MORE: ‘We Don’t Need This:’ Neighbors Struggle To Make Sense Of Moore Avenue Shooting
KDKA asked Mayor Bill Peduto why now? Why look outside policing for a solution?
“What’s different today is that last year to this day there’s been an 80 percent increase in homicide and almost all in our lowest income neighborhoods and many are majority-minority and if we simply look at it through the lens of policing or its simply someone else’s problem we will do the same mistakes in the past,” Peduto said.
Mayoral candidate Tony Moreno released a statement on the violence, saying, in part:
“The first priority of city government should be the continued safety of every business, resident and visitor. Our current leaders are demonstrating they are incapable of protecting us.”
This group of city leaders and community stakeholders don’t want more police officers on the streets, but more opportunities for the kids.
“I’m calling on the corporate leaders to understand that if you want to take a gun out of a young kid’s hands, give them a job in the summer, give them the opportunity to see what it’s like to work in a bank or hospital. Invest back into the neighborhoods and the leaders that are out there actually doing the work,” Peduto said.
With a call to action on the table, it’s a waiting game to see who answers.
“God is not killing us, we are killing us so we need to be able to have the conversation without fear understanding people want to be loved and they need answers and resources,” Day said.
Public safety is not pulling any officers off the street, but rather it’s investing in more relationships. The community engagement division has stepped up conversations with business owners and people on what they want in their neighborhood to get a better picture of the need.