South Aspect Violence Pits bar homeowners vying for native residents with police within the center – CBS Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Bouncing crowds and some violent incidents pitted bar owners against South Side residents this summer, with police being in the thick of it.
Public security leaders met with business owners on Tuesday to try to iron out these differences. The morning meeting brought together about two dozen bar owners who complain they have a bad reputation for the sporadic violence and sometimes recalcitrant crowds that clogged East Carson Street Friday and Saturday nights.
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Owners like Rich Cupka say measures such as closing the street to through traffic have severely affected their businesses and that police have stayed away from open pot smoking and allowing skirmishes without arrests.
“You could have a thousand cops down here at night. If they are not allowed to do their job, it will go on forever, ”he said.
Security director Wendell Hissrich denies police’s hands are tied but focused on arresting the more serious offenders, and says the city’s measures have so far paid off.
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“What the bar owners want, the residents don’t want. What the residents want, the bar owners don’t want. And the cops and public security are in the middle. When we started we had hundreds, if not thousands, on the sidewalk and the police couldn’t see what was going on, and now we have a hard shoulder and visibility for the officers, ”said Hissrich.
Measures are under discussion to ease traffic blockages and possibly better access for Uber and Lyft to get night owls in and out of the neighborhood. But bartender and resident Jessica Ceilak says improving the behavior of some of the wilder diners is a much bigger task.
“You can’t do anything you want here and this message needs to get out,” said Ceilak.
Director Hissrich says he is open to new ideas, but there will always be work to balance the needs of residents and bar owners.
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“Between September 3 and 19, police in the South Side Corridor received 195 service calls, made 11 arrests, one firearm-related arrest, one firearm seizure, surrendered 284 charges and towed 38 vehicles,” Public said Safety in a statement.
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