By: KDKA-TV’s Jessica Guay
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police’s latest crime report revealed some good and bad news for the city of Pittsburgh.READ MORE: Protecting Your Trip: How To Avoid Unexpected Costs When Inclement Weather Impacts Travel
According to the October 2021 Uniform Crime Report, from January to October 2021, there was a 6.3 percent increase in crime incidents compared to the same time period in 2020, though the report shows a nearly 14 percent decrease from the year-to-date 5-year average.
“I’m very surprised. I feel like in general it’s been pretty good and hearing that made me question a few things,” said Bella Pitrone. She works on the North Shore and was enjoying the day in Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.
The report also shows in October 2021, the city saw a 23 percent uptick in property crimes compared to September 2021. Property crimes could be burglary, theft, vehicle theft or arson. Violent crimes went up by 1.6 percent in October over September. Both figures are below the 5-year average for the month of October.
University of Pittsburgh Criminal Justice Professor Tony Gaskew, Ph.D. said while the national crime rate has been dropping for 25 years, there can be fluctuations like the one seen in Pittsburgh in October.
“When crime rates go up, it’s not the fault of the police department and when crime rates go down it’s not the fault of the police department. Much of this is economic driven and it’s simply going to fluctuate,” said Gaskew.READ MORE: Man Allegedly Drunkenly Breaks Into Bethel Park Apartment
He said it’s too soon to know if COVID-19 has played a factor in crime rates.
“We really haven’t had a deep understanding of what COVID-19 and its impact has done and sometimes it’s as simple as people are reporting more crimes,” said Gaskew.
“Entering our second year of COVID-19, we don’t understand where it will take us and how people and communities are dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19,” he said.
The Cultural District was one of the areas that saw an increase in crime late this year. Some people who live or work there said they are hoping for a downward trend.
“I love Pittsburgh. It’s a great city and I really hope that the crime doesn’t go up anymore. I want people to enjoy it and not think of it as a big crime city and I mean, look how pretty it is today. This is what people should enjoy and not thinking about if they can walk outside or not,” Pitrone said.MORE NEWS: More Than 150 Firefighters Needed To Battle Flames At Bedford Valley Petroleum
Gaskew advises people to not panic when crime rates go up or down, but people can take precautions to stay safe. That includes locking your doors and windows both in your home and your car, making it look like you’re home when you’re not and always being aware of your surroundings.