PITTSBURGH — In the last six months of 2023, since the city began beefing up its policing on the South Side, Pittsburgh police have announced dozens of arrests and hundreds of summonses.
The group of officers dedicated to weekend nights was created over the summer after a series of shootings along East Carson Street.
“Below 18th Street, it's like a war zone on the weekends,” said Rich Cupka, owner of Cupka's Cafe 2 on East Carson Street.
Since its inception, the South Side Entertainment Patrol has reportedly made 91 arrests, recovered 18 firearms and issued 629 non-traffic citations.
Police say an arrest was made on New Year's Eve.
“There were five shots fired on 18th and Sidney,” Cupka said, describing the incident.
Pittsburgh police have previously reported that incidents on the South Side range from gun violence and fighting to drug use, public drunkenness and public urination, and more.
“It’s just out of control,” Cupka said. “You have 3,000 people doing pretty much whatever they want. In a little over a year, we've had just about every crime committed on East Carson Street, below 18th Street.
Even with dedicated weekend patrols, Cupka believes crime isn't decreasing.
He said even more officers are needed.
“You have to enforce the laws, you have to be there all the time and you can’t stop,” Cupka explained.
According to Cupka, the state of the South Side is most accurately indicated by the number of businesses that have closed over the past year.
Channel 11 reported in June when fudge and ice cream shop Fudge Farm closed its doors due to increased crime.
“The actual condition is not what the city reports,” Cupka said. “If you go down Carson Street right now, 26% of businesses are vacant – 26% vacancies. We have closed 54 businesses over the past year. If these statistics they are publishing are true, why is everything stopping? Why is everyone leaving?
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