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Residents remain divided on efficacy of police presence on South Side as new schedule begins

Residents remain divided on efficacy of police presence on South Side as new schedule begins
Residents remain divided on efficacy of police presence on South Side as new schedule begins 02:07

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pittsburgh police are on the first weekend of a new schedule.

Officers are only working four days a week now, and weekend nights are when they get called the most.

A few Pittsburghers say they've seen a change in police presence and feel safer out and about, while others say it's too late to fix public safety here and remember what once was.

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The South Side of Pittsburgh has always been known for its great time, food, and culture. In the last decade, there have been a lot of changes and many places have closed or moved.

"Yeah, it's a day late and a dollar short; they should have been down here years ago," said Pittsburgher Larry Cronkite. "People were doing things down here on the South Side that just weren't fun anymore for the people that lived down here."

"Just late at night, I feel like it's not the safest area to be, especially at a young age," resident Abigail Farmer said.

This is, in part, due to growing crime in the area. It's why Pittsburgh police have been making an effort to be there, especially from midnight to 3 a.m., when bars let out.

"I mean, coming down here is fine, coming down with a family, but I would never on weekends want to come down a lot. We would much rather be going to the Lawrenceville area, which feels safer there most of the time," Farmer added.

Cronkite, a longtime South Side resident, remembers how the South Side used to be.

"This is a great area down here, great old houses, great restaurants, and they just kind of forgot about it," he said. "This is a place still until they can get the presence of the police down here to where it is not just a short-term thing, it is never going to go back to what it used to be and that's a shame."

However, Chris Davis is hoping to see improvement.

"Eventually, they'll get it right, because they just increase police presence, stiffen penalties for people who do certain things, anything with a gun should be mandatory 10 years if you ask me."

Farmer has this advice for anyone going out anywhere in the city.

"Being in groups, definitely not alone, staying together, not going anywhere alone."

With added police downtown and a special unit focusing on gun violence, areas like the South Side are being approached differently, hoping to make it a safer place.

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