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Mayor Gainey plans to walk East Carson Street after midnight this weekend

Gainey plans to walk East Carson Street after midnight this weekend
Gainey plans to walk East Carson Street after midnight this weekend 02:42

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The weekend is coming and that means folks on the South Side are bracing for large crowds, and fearing the return of gun violence.

Gunplay and shootings have plagued the neighborhood, especially in the early morning hours on Sundays.

Mayor Ed Gainey said he'll be walking East Carson Street this weekend, at that time, to see the problem first-hand.

KDKA-TV spoke with the mayor about plans to stem violence there.

"We want to make South Side and Carson Street safe," Gainey said.

When Saturday night descends into early Sunday morning is when East Carson Street has devolved into chaos -- with gunplay and violence -- and that's when Gainey said he'll be walking the street this weekend.

"I've been over there between 9:30 and 10, but I think the difference here is being over there at 1 a.m.," he said. "There's just certain things that I want to see for myself."

Gainey said he wants to see first-hand the enforcement changes meant to stem the tide of violence. He said police will beef up patrols again this weekend, including officers trained to spot and arrest young people with guns. The city will be tagging and towing cars and may return to making some streets one way to reduce foot traffic.

"(I'm) going to to be able to articulate when I talk to Public Safety, tell them some things that I feel we need to do to impact some change over there," the mayor said. "There wil be some changes this weekend."

This weekend will bring country music star Kenny Chesney back to Heinz Field, launch the Three Rivers Arts Festival into full swing, which could impact traffic in the area. Gainey has scheduled a news conference Friday to lay out specific plans.

But he has discounted the use of undercover officers to make pop-up arrests, adding that the SWAT team will not be on-scene unless a specific incident merits its deployment. Gainey is planning a Southside Community meeting to discuss long-range solutions next week.

"They should know what's going on, they should know how we're going to protect Carson Street," he said. "I look forward to that conversation."

But folks on Tech Street say it's no secret; there just needs to be more enforcement.

"Move bouncers, more police and stricter enforcement of drinking laws," former bouncer J.D. Cox said. "Or to be on the safe side, just stay home."

Added Oakland resident Kim Durik: "I don't come down here on Saturday nights."

The measures haven't worked the past two weekends, at least in those early-morning hours. The mayor said he hopes this one will be different.

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