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Mayor, Public Safety, Police Discuss 2018 Crime Stats

PITTSBURGH, PA (Jan. 14, 2019) -- City, Public Safety and Police Bureau officials gathered this morning in the Mayor’s Conference Room to discuss the final 2018 statistics for homicides, investigation clearance rates and shootings.

Over the past several years, homicides and shootings have trended downwards in the city of Pittsburgh. That trend continued in 2018.

But officials warned that although the numbers represent progress, work remains.

"Every year since 2014, we have seen a decrease in the number of homicides that have occurred in this city. That includes last year," Mayor William Peduto said. "Our clearance rate has also increased, dramatically, and that is completely due to the work of Police. ... However, that’s still not good enough. Our goal is to eradicate gun violence in our city.”

Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich credited the improving numbers on increased community engagement, the use of technology including security cameras and ShotSpotter, and the hard work of police officers, among other factors.

“Some of the accomplishments have to do with the staffing of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” Director Hissrich said. “Thanks to the Mayor and City Council, our staffing levels have increased dramatically over the last several years allowing more officers to be on the street. (When) the public sees the same officers day to day, we have more of an open dialogue. Without the community, these numbers would be drastically higher. Next year we hope to see the continued downward trend of these numbers. But that will only be done through the help of the community, technology and most importantly the work of Pittsburgh Police.”

There were 71 homicides in 2014. The total dropped to 60 in 2015, 59 in 2016, 58 in 2017 and 55 in 2018.

There were 174 non-fatal shootings in 2015, when Police began creating the Group Violence Intervention (GVI) Unit, which targets at-risk members of the community and offers guidance and services to escape a life of violence and crime. The number rose to 188 in 2016, then dropped to 140 in 2017 and 114 in 2018.

Clearance rates hovered in the 50-percent range from 2014 to 2017, but improved to 71 percent in 2018.

Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Chief Scott Schubert praised his officers, who take every homicide personally. He also credited residents for their willingness to work with Police, and said officers would continue to focus on removing illegal firearms from the streets.

“One homicide is too many in the city of Pittsburgh, and we need to think about the victims’ families and what they go through when someone is murdered,” Schubert said. “Our job is not done. We still have a lot to do. But I’m very, very proud of the work of the Pittsburgh Police, day in and day out.”

Chief Schubert added: “If we could go through a year without having any homicides, I’d be the happiest man in the world because it would mean families are not grieving.”


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Chris Togneri
Public Information Officer
Public Safety