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Housing Authority And Pittsburgh Police Open Substation In Northview Heights Housing Complex

Virginia Alvino Young
90.5 WESA
The Northview Heights Public Safety Center will house Pittsburgh Police officers and social service partner agencies.

A new Pittsburgh police substation opened Tuesday in a North Side public housing complex.

Six officers and a sergeant are based at the Northview Heights Public Safety Center, which serves the Northview Heights complex off of I-279, and nearby Allegheny Dwellings in Fineview. Northview Heights is home to a significant concentration of Pittsburgh’s refugee population, particularly Somali Bantus.

Earlier this year, city council approved daily police patrols at both locations.

Resident Olivia Bennett has been involved in the extensive planning process. “I believe that having police housed in our community will allow both residents and police to recognize the humanity in one another and begin to reduce the ‘us versus them’ mentality that seems to pervade our society,” said Bennett.

The push for an increased police presence on the north side was a community-driven effort. Through surveys and public meetings held by the Buhl Foundation three years ago, residents expressed a desire for greater public safety resources.

Valerie Lauw has lived in Northview Heights for more than 20 years and said she’s never really felt safe there.

“But today in this community I can say there hasn’t been a shooting in over a year,” she said, “so we’re gonna build on that. We have to build on the goodness because it’s a new day.” She said she’s looking forward to pushing her grandkids in their stroller to the park without worrying about gun fire.

Last year, two shootings in June left three people injured in Northview Heights. A 16 year-old was killed there in February 2017.

Police and city officials hope to both decrease overall crime, and prevent crime by addressing root issues. Health, Education, Employment, and housing social service partners will also be based at the center.

The mini station is funded in full through federal dollars from the Pittsburgh Housing Authority.