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Annual Police Report Shows Decrease In Violent Crime, Emphasis On Data-Driven Policing

Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said there’s a crisis of confidence in American policing.

“We’re trying to become a benchmark that others will compare themselves to, that’s our goal,” McLay said at a press conference held to release the police department’s 2015 annual report Friday.

McLay, who is nearing his two-year anniversary in Pittsburgh, highlighted efforts made during his tenure to address violent crime and better solve cases. He also announced the department’s new mission, vision and core value statements that pledge to enhance policing performance outcomes and set higher accountability standards.

“Most importantly, the predominant nature of our role to preserve human life at all costs," he said, "so this is who we are and this is what we exist to do."

McLay said last year’s organizational changes increased manpower for preventing and solving violent crimes. The homicide and robbery units combined to make sure there was enough staff to address homicides. The Group Violence Intervention Unit was also instituted as a full-time entity to investigate all non-fatal shootings.

Violent crimes in Pittsburgh moderately decreased from 2014 to 2015.

Homicides in Pittsburgh decreased 17 percent and reported incidents of rape dropped about 10 percent in 2015 from the year before.

Most non-violent crimes, including burglary and vehicle theft, experienced single-digit increases during that same period.

McLay said the department increased its analytic capacity in 2015, and will continue to focus on data-driven policing.