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Officials Conduct Sweep Of Oakland, Check For Safe Violations

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Politicians, building code inspectors, and local and university police officers were moving around the city's Oakland section Friday morning to check out safety concerns.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman led members of the University of Pittsburgh administration, campus police, Pittsburgh Police and Pittsburgh Public Works along Dithridge Street.

They are going door-to-door searching for safety violations.

"We have had some serious violations in the past, and the ones we are most concerned with are life safety," said Gilman. "We want to make sure all the right fire protection systems are there. Fire escapes, we don't want a tragedy on our hands."

While Pitt officials are front-and-center in searching for code violations, they aren't the only university with students here.

"We also try to communicate and try to work closely with schools around the city because Oakland is not just Pitt and CMU, but it is really a magnet for students around Pittsburgh. So you have students from Carlow, Point Park, Duquesne students living in Oakland," said Vice Chancellor Paul Supowitz, of Pitt's Community and Government Relations Department.

Meetings were held throughout the course of the day across the neighborhood, not just to tell the officials the things they are doing wrong, but to tell them the things they are doing right, including improvements that have been made to the property and ways that the city and the university can better serve students.

"I know Pitt and the police, they work together and they do a very, very good job of making sure everyone either is moving into their second year or third year or whatever, or if they are moving here for the first time, to make it a seamless transition and it's really, really commendable," says Matthew Boehm, a Pitt student.

While Dithridge Street has become known as a hotbed for student housing, the sense of community cannot be overrun.

"We still have single-family homes. We have people who have lived here over 50 years, and we have a student population, and it's critical to me that we protect that," said Gilman.

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