On June 26th, Temple Sinai hosted a public gun violence forum in Squirrel Hill. In attendance was U.S. Attorney David Hickton, who outlined his plan to reduce shootings by focusing on Project Safe Neighborhoods, “which brings together agencies at different levels to focus on problems particular to one area.” Mr. Hickton also spoke about tracking straw buyers, who provide guns for those who cannot legally obtain them.
Also at the panel were Pittsburgh public safety director Michael Huss, Allegheny County deputy district attorney Steven Stadtmiller, city police Detective Joseph Bielevicz, security expert Carmen Gentile, and Shira Goodman, executive director of CeaseFirePA. Detective Bielevicz cited statistics on Pittsburgh’s Zone 5 station in Highland Park, which sees the highest rate of violent crime throughout the city. Last year, the police were able to track 82 guns from areas covered by that zone, and found that half of them originated from within county lines. The Detective emphasized the importance of reporting lost or stolen guns to aide police in stopping the underground gun or drug trade.