Lost Pittsburgh

Lost Pittsburgh

We have written, often, about the lawlessness that pervades Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle. But despite official city claims of a crackdown – or is it a coming crackdown? — things only appear to be growing worse.

Thus, we beat no dead horse here. Instead, we spotlight a very alive decadence that now fully envelops Pittsburgh’s primary business and entertainment district.

The latest to which we specifically refer: Recent radio reports of very public group sex in Mellon Park and a homeless man wielding a jar of urine, threatening to douse passers-by.

Who does this? But, more importantly, why do city officials continue to tolerate such activity?

Yet, there’s the continuing lack of anything resembling a necessary and proper response from city government and city police. Business owners who once complained repeatedly about the ingrained rot in the urban core are at a loss as to what they can do.

One establishment, adjacent to a homeless gathering area, thought of closing that location and moving to another. But one of the owners put it bluntly (to KDKA Radio) – the crime and the mess and the shrugged-shoulder inaction is so pervasive, there’s nowhere to move.

The tragic question that now must be asked is this: “Is downtown Pittsburgh a lost cause?”

Clearly, it has lost its way. But it is not a lost cause, at least not yet.

But bold steps must be taken, and now, to restore law and order Downtown. And this must be the charge for Pittsburgh’s newly chosen police chief.

This is no time for namby-pambyism. Enforce. The. Laws.

Pittsburgh has long hamstrung any contemporary successes – i.e., population and economic growth – with myriad onerous public policies that serve to retard both. Indeed, the proof in the pudding is its stagnant census number and paucity of economic advances, despite the cheerleading to the contrary of those who should know better.

But there is absolutely no hope of righting the erstwhile Steel City’s badly listing ship if the public’s safety continues its escalating spiral down this rat hole and the concept of civil society becomes nothing but a quaint notion.

Colin McNickle is communications and marketing director at the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy (cmcnickle@alleghenyinstitute.org).