Public Safety

Safe neighborhoods are a joint effort between citizens and police. Neighborhood residents are an important part of the process because they notify police when illegal activity occurs. It is important for neighbors to call 9-1-1 anytime that they suspect illegal activity. It is acceptable to call 9-1-1 even if it is not a life or death situation or other emergency.Police prefer to intervene before a situation gets out of hand; prevention is the best cure. Reporting illegal behavior to the police builds a history for a given person, address or area. The more calls the police receive regarding a given area, the more police attention that area is likely to get. Therefore, it is important to report everything. See something, say something.

It is common for people to feel uncomfortable calling the police on their neighbors. Often this is because of a fear of identification or retaliation. First of all, 9-1-1 calls can be anonymous if you choose. If you still prefer not to call, the City of Pittsburgh Police Bureau provides an online tip form, which can also be anonymous.

Collective neighborhood action is the most effective deterrent for crime. Residents have been known to organize their reporting efforts, establishing captains that distribute and collect tip forms from residents. This is a coordinated approach that demonstrates the aggregate need in the neighborhood for police protection.

Beyond organized reporting, active residents are the best protection. Neighbors keeping an eye on each other’s houses and children is a great security system. People sitting on their porches, with their eyes on the street, is a simple deterrent. Block watches are an organized form of this.

Another resource for active residents and groups concerned with public safety is Citizen Observer. This website makes local crime information accessible and connects citizens taking an active interest in crime prevention.

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