The Real Reasons Why Home Security Systems Are Needed in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
The Melting Pot of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh has its own unique blend of neighborhoods within and around the city. The downtown area has the modern PPG Place, as well as the historic Cathedral of Learning. Both are Gothic-style structures from different eras that are well maintained. The other side of the coin has dilapidated buildings covered in graffiti and standing in areas of urban decay.
Many associate the crime-ridden Gotham of the Batman franchise as being a fictional New York City, but it was Pittsburgh that was featured in the movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” This is appropriate as Pittsburgh can go from upscale homes and new commercial structures in one block to degrading infrastructure in the next. The extremely close proximity of lower crime areas to higher crime areas makes getting home security systems wise for all residences and businesses in Pittsburgh.
Gentrification and Slumlords in Pittsburgh
It is easy to spot gentrification in the Pittsburgh area. New commercial buildings and residences are being built in neighborhoods that used to have single-family homes. Pittsburgh is in Allegheny County, and it has the second highest senior population in the country next to Dade County in Florida. Due to fixed incomes of many seniors, this affects the tax base, and the City of Pittsburgh was under state oversight due to financial distress just a few years ago. Every public service from police departments to public works projects suffers with budget issues.
In contrast to gentrification, in some residential neighborhoods it is common for homes formerly owned by elderly residents to be sold cheaply to or acquired for low bids due to being sold for back taxes after senior displacement due to death or nursing home placement. Landlords of varying competence and commitment acquire the homes at below market value. This trend leads to an increase in controversial Section 8 housing of low-income residents in once thriving communities and an association with elevating crime rates. Longtime residents often find themselves surrounded by new neighbors they do not know, and this puts concerns of home security forefront in the minds of residents.
The Good and Bad Guns in Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania residences have an extremely high number of whitetail deer hunters. Schools regularly experience an increased absentee rate on opening day due to this longstanding tradition. Hunter safety courses in Pennsylvania are mandatory for youth hunters. There are low incidents of accidents during whitetail deer season in Pennsylvania, especially considering the number of armed people in Pennsylvania woods approaches two million on opening day of deer season. This makes the armed hunters the largest gathering of an armed force in the world on the first day of whitetail deer season. Also, permits to carry firearms are available to law-abiding adult residents from their local sheriff’s office. The issue in Pittsburgh is not the law-abiding or hunters with guns. It is the lawbreakers.
In March of 2016 a mass shooting in adjacent Wilkinsburg left six dead and three injured as the victims were gathered for a backyard cookout. Two shooters opened fire with a pistol and a rifle in a revenge attack on one of the attendees of the cookout. Drive-by shootings are a common news story for areas such as the Hill District, Homewood and the North Side, and they are often attributed to gang violence.
Gangs In Pittsburgh
Like any other major city in America, there are active gangs in the city of Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. The “Convicts” are in Sheraden. Hazelwood has the “Old Hazelwood Mob.” The Bedford Dwellings in the North Side is referred to as the “WeedSide” and has gang activity throughout the area. The most highly active community as far as gang-related activity goes in the Pittsburgh area is Homewood. There are more gangs in Pittsburgh, and their territorial lines surround regular people who only wish to live, work, go to school, and enjoy all the fantastic things Pittsburgh has to offer. Gang violence is not unique to Pittsburgh, but it is a reason to take reasonable steps to secure homes and businesses.
The Drug Culture
Heroin by far is the major drug problem in Pittsburgh and the entire southwestern Pennsylvania area. Overdoses are a common news story. Police and emergency responders carry Narcan to counteract the effects of opiate drugs such as heroin. Local and regional newspapers have done series of stories on the issue with many believing the heroin epidemic was fueled by Oxycontin addictions that progressed to cheap heroin when the other opiate became too expensive to acquire. Oxy pills sell for $50 or more per dose, but a stamp bag of heroin can often be acquired for around $8.
Though the evening news stories often depict heroin users living in deplorable conditions with children who are neglected and abused, heroin use is actually not confined to any specific class of people in the Pittsburgh area. It is found among the wealthy and poor as well as every color of skin. It is so rampant that it is likely most everyone in the area has a relative, friend, coworker, neighbor or acquaintance who uses heroin.
In October 2016 a 7-year old child in McKeesport, which is just a bit over 16 miles from downtown Pittsburgh, went to school and reported her parents were dead at home. News stories report how the neighbors did not notice anything that was out of the ordinary, and this is typical.
Heroin addiction needs funding, and the common way addicts get money after they lose their jobs is to resort to theft. This is a driving force behind the sustained increase in homes in the Pittsburgh region being outfitted with state-of-the-art home security systems and surveillance cameras.
Every city has its good and bad. The majority of Pittsburghers are hardworking, friendly people who help out their neighbors. Local communities have volunteer fire departments that are staffed by members from their own neighborhoods. Funding for police departments has been an issue for years, and neighborhood watch communities help keep an eye out and report suspicious activities. Pittsburgh is filled with people with a big heart for giving. The good people of Pittsburgh outnumber the bad, but the good people realize the reality of the world makes it necessary to take active steps to secure home and family.