Despite crime, students flock to South Side

Alicia Dye | News Editor | Enclave (formerly known as the Rex Theater) is the newest club in South Side. It's become a popular spot among students who go out in the South Side during weekends.

Alicia Dye | News Editor

Aug. 25, 2022

Ninety-one shots fired calls in the first six months of 2022 in the South Side neighborhood. Sixthy-three shots fired in the first six months of 2021, in the same neighborhood. Crime, specifically gun violence, has been on the rise over the years, according to data provided by the Pittsburgh Office of Public Safety.

The gun violence in the area has been hurting businesses, causing some to even leave the neighborhood. Fudge Farm, a gourmet fudge, ice cream and chocolate shop, closed its doors in June of this year due to the violence, according to a Facebook post made by the business.

“Due to the uncontrollable shootings and violence as well as other circumstances on E. Carson St. today will be Fudge Farm’s last day there,” the Facebook post said. “We can no longer ask teenage children, or no one for that matter to work for us in this environment.”

Even with businesses and residents being frequently being hurt by the violence, students still flock to South Side on weekends, with no fear of the violence.

“Going out in South Side doesn’t scare me,” pharmacy student Megan Mcquigg said. “I could get shot anywhere in the city.”

Oakland, another popular going out spot among students, has had 25 shots-fired calls within the first six months of the year, according to data provided by the Pittsburgh Office of Public Safety. North Shore, where popular bars such as Tequila Cowboy are located, has only had one incident with gun violence in the first six months of 2022.

A majority of the gun violence in the South Side happens on weekends and late at night. Twenty percent of the gun violence for 2022 has happened on a Saturday night between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sixty-nine percent of all gun violence for 2022 has happened between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Assistant Chief of operations Linda Barone said that Pittsburgh Police is working hard with other departments to help better South Side.

“​City of Pittsburgh, Department of Public Safety, which the Bureau of Police fall under, have been working with other city departments and outside law enforcement partners as well as other agencies to reduce crime and disorder not only in South Side but citywide,” Barone said.

Some Duquesne students think the police presence helps them feel safer.

“All my friends love going out there,” senior Avery Clark said. “I was iffy at first, but after seeing the amount of police in the area, it made me feel a lot better about the crime in the area.”

Even freshmen say that the crime won’t deter them from going to the South Side.

“There are a bunch of restaurants I want to try down there,” Vivian Mai said. “Any area can be dangerous. I don’t want to miss out on stuff because I’m scared.”

Pittsburgh Police are trying to do more to make students and businesses feel safe in South Side and citywide.

“We are doing directed patrols, park n walks, roving dui patrols, engaging with the community and businesses as partners to address issues that foster negative activity,” Barone said. “We are also working with other departments and agencies to assist when needed, lighting has been enhanced to brighten dark areas, technology is utilized via public/private camera systems and education for those living and visiting the South Side area as to what behavior is unacceptable.”

City councilman Bruce Kraus did not respond to requests for comment.