Pittsburgh’s Hazelwood Presbyterian Church has been derided as “a snitch church” for hosting police efforts to talk with civilians, Pastor Leslie Boone told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. So be it, she says, noting that police “have been cleaning up a lot of the drug areas, crack houses. We’ve had [fewer] deaths in Hazelwood. Said another pastor: “We have to be careful that we don’t go over the line and no longer be seen as a safe place for youth to come when they’re in trouble.”
Those were some of the reactions yesterday to Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s call for churches — which have already passed out anonymous complaint forms — to help with intelligence gathering for the new Pittsburgh Initiative to Reduce Crime, or PIRC. Reaching the city’s 500 to 1,000 violent criminals is the goal of PIRC, which Ravenstahl and Councilman Ricky Burgess are putting together under the guidance of David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.