In the wake of several incidents of violence in Monroeville, including a shooting and 100-plus person fight, municipal leaders and local law enforcement have announced they are working together to stop the violence.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said part of the problem is drugs. When law enforcement cracked down on drug sales in Homewood, he said operations began to move out of the city into areas such as Monroeville.
The D.A.’s office along with Allegheny County police and city officials said they have come up with solutions to the issue through their partnership.
“And it will yield new ways to stop the idiots who wanna come in and cause trouble in our community,” said Sean Logan, CEO of Visit Monroeville, the city’s visitor’s bureau. “Some items you will see, some items you will hear about, some items you may not necessarily see.”
Some of the more visible measures include more surveillance cameras. Zappala pointed to the Waterfront shopping area as a prime example of a high-traffic area with a lot of shopping and dining but that is safe. He said that is due to the surveillance technology that was made possible through grant funding. Zappala said grant funding will be sought for Monroeville safety measures as well.
In the meantime, the hope is that the cameras along with increased police presence can put a dent in the violence.
“Monroeville is hot,” said Zappala. “The mall is hot and the Miracle Mile is hot, and if you’re there to buy drugs, probably some narcotics officer is there watching you do that.”
Other security improvements will come down the line.
“We want to create some virtual checkpoints at different locations off of 22 and into some of the business districts,” said Zappala. “The mall has been told that the best deterrent to crime is the fact that you will be seen and that you will be caught – that moves crime out of the area.”
Officials said other safety measures discussed are not being made public. Monroeville Mayor Greg Erosenko said already, the mall is one of the safest places to be thanks to the police substation that moved in there and a youth escort policy in place weekend nights. Zappala said increased security measures will not only apply to the mall, but all business areas as well as large housing complexes and other areas.