Stop blaming Pittsburgh police for neighborhood irresponsibility

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After reading "Larger Issues Aired at Hearing on Pittsburgh Police Residency" (July 19), I was having trouble comprehending the amount of hypocrisy contained therein. A Northview Heights resident stated she was being policed "as if we are in a war zone" and that there were "white people coming as officers to harass and arrest." A Lincoln-Lemington teen analogized in the same piece that lifting police residency requirements was akin to "just letting us die because the police don't want to live in the city."

Are you kidding me? These residents are blaming "white people coming as officers" (i.e., their police department) for their own, homegrown neighborhood problems. As anyone who has been in or through Northview Heights or Lincoln-Lemington in the past 10 to 15 years (as I have as a city police officer) can attest, it is most certainly a war zone, with all the escalating violence, drug dealing, shootings and murders.

And who are the principal combatants in this "war zone"? The black residents who live there fighting, hurting and killing who? Each other! Black-on-black violence and homicides are astronomical in these above-mentioned neighborhoods, with no end in sight. Statistics do not lie and are most definitely colorblind. The racism ingrained in these residents is palpable, fueled by people like Tim Stevens, president of the Black Political Empowerment Project. But, according to these residents in the article, it is the police who are the racists.

I have lived in a diverse neighborhood for the past 11 years and never once have I seen my black (or Indian, or Syrian, or Hispanic, or even white for that matter) neighbors complain about the police harassing or arresting them. Do you know why? Because in my neighborhood, if we see a crime we report it. We don't objectify the police; we cooperate with them regardless of the color of their -- or our -- skin, to eradicate the problems in our neighborhood.

We don't blame the police for our problems; we take responsibility for our problems and fix them. Responsibility, not blame -- it's a very simple solution.




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