Allegheny County DA, Monroeville police team to reduce drug activity, violent crime
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office will work with Monroeville police to reduce drug activity and violent crime in the eastern suburbs, officials said Thursday.
Drug activity in Monroeville has increased in the past six or seven years as Pittsburgh police efforts pushed drug sales out of Homewood and into nearby suburbs, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. said.
“In a relatively short period of time, I think we can knock those numbers down,” Zappala said at a news conference in the Monroeville municipal building.
Police are monitoring the movement of narcotics in Monroeville’s business districts, he said. His office and other law enforcement agencies plan to work with Monroeville police to refocus the department’s efforts to monitor certain areas of the municipality.
Monroeville police Chief Doug Cole, who did not attend the news conference, was not available for comment.
Attractions such as the Monroeville Mall make the municipality a regional “hub” of retail — but also of drug deals and other types of crimes, Zappala said.
Three people were injured Feb. 7 in a shooting inside of Macy’s, prompting the mall to be evacuated.
The shooting may have been drug-related, Zappala said. He did not elaborate. Tarod Thornhill, 17, of Penn Hills is charged as an adult with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, causing a catastrophe and firearms charges in connection with the incident. He is not charged with drug violations.
As a consequence, CBL and Associates Properties, the Tennessee company that owns the mall, barred anyone younger than 18 from entering without an adult after 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.
Sean Logan, CEO of Visit Monroeville, said the policy has not harmed retail sales.
Gunshots were fired and fights erupted outside a Monroeville Mall restaurant early Saturday when 500 to 1,000 people showed up for a fraternity event.
Mall spokeswoman Stacey Keating said Thursday that additional security options are being considered.
Officials said Thursday that municipal and mall leaders are seeking grants for more security features.
Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7845 or [email protected].