Our America’s new Crime and Safety Impact Report showed an alarming rise in crime in Pittsburgh. According to the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), from 2021 to 2022, Pittsburgh saw an increase in homicides, rapes and robberies. As of mid-2023, the MCCA also reports a year-over-year increase in rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults in Pittsburgh.
Citizens are rightfully concerned. In December 2022, downtown Pittsburgh business owners complained to the mayor’s office. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette covered the event, writing “Downtown is a bit on edge these days. Frustration over shootings, fights, panhandling and open drug dealing boiled over during a recent meeting between downtown business owners and merchants and top officials within Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration. Some worried about losing commercial or residential tenants if the situation doesn’t change or how they can cajole workers back to the office given anxiety about safety. Another fretted about losing businesses or restaurants. …But many of those who attended the meeting — and others who didn’t — insisted that city leadership isn’t doing enough, particularly to address issues like aggressive panhandling, fights, unruly youths and loitering that don’t show up in crime stats.”
From 2020 to 2021, Pittsburgh saw a 46% rise in shootings that left people injured and a similar percentage jump in homicides. “While much of the nation has experienced a dramatic increase in murders and other violent crimes,” AP News reported in September 2021, “Pittsburgh has seen a 46% rise in shootings that left people injured and a similar percentage jump in homicides over the same time last year. Perhaps the most alarming statistic to neighborhood activists is the number of young people dying from bullets: nearly one-third of the city’s 41 homicide victims were teens.”
In 2022, Pittsburgh reached 71 homicides, its highest number in a decade. “This year, Pittsburgh has seen a record-breaking number of homicides. On Monday, Pittsburgh police responded to the Family Dollar on Brighton Road for a deadly shooting, which marked 71 homicides in the city with two days left in 2022,” CBS News reported in December 2022. “It is the highest it’s been in a decade. Eight years ago, according to crime data online, there were 70 homicides within the city. And between 2010 and Thursday, there have been 700. According to the most up-to-date data from police, 60% of offenders involved in homicides this year are between 15 and 24 years old. More than 50% of victims are within that same age group.”
Clearly, something needs to change. Our America National Director Gabriel Nadales released the following statement:
“The Our America Crime and Safety Impact Report demonstrates what we’ve known for years: crime has gotten significantly worse since before the COVID-19 pandemic, and not only in places like New York and Los Angeles, but also in smaller profile cities like Tucson, Arizona, Henderson, Nevada, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. With this report, Our America seeks to show the public that although the headlines on crime might be dominated by larger cities, it’s happening everywhere.
“High crime rates make it considerably more difficult for people to realize the American dream. Sadly, minority communities in particular are the hardest hit by rising crime rates since they tend to disproportionately suffer from crime as it is. It’s incumbent on state and local governments to establish and uphold safe communities for families and businesses to succeed. We hope that this report and its recommended solutions can help foster safer streets and brighter futures for Americans across the country.”