It’s all about technology at tonight’s citywide public safety meeting.
That topic was chosen for the biannual meeting because there are a variety of ways the department uses technology to help Pittsburghers, said Shatara Murphy, community affairs manager for public safety.
Tech also helps Pittsburghers help the department, too.
“It actually trickles through the system a lot faster,” Murphy said of residents using tech to contact the department with nonemergency concerns. Plus, she said, the information can be forwarded in the words of the resident instead of just notes from a phone conversation.
Here’s some of that technology that helps connect residents to the city and will be featured tonight.
- Block Watch. Typically an in-person program, Block Watch is moving discussions to social media, whether that’s Facebook or Nextdoor, Murphy said. And those conversations can be about anything from crime, to neighborhood cleanup times and more.
- Pet microchip readers. The Bureau of Animal Care & Control can now scan microchips (which owners can have implanted under their pet’s skin) to learn contact information for the pet’s owner and help reunite lost pets to their owners.
- Buildingeye. Like the pet chip readers, this website is new to this city and launched earlier this month. The site has information about building permits, licenses, planning applications and code enforcement throughout the city. Murphy said speakers at the meeting will explain when issues about abandoned buildings should be reported to police — and when it can go to the city’s Department of Permits, Licenses and Inspections.
- MyBurgh (Android, iOS). More and more Pittsburghers are using this app to report things such as burned-out street lights and garbage issues to 311, Murphy said. It’s quick, and users can get text messages about the status of their reports.
P.S. Murphy recommended taking a look at both buildingeye and MyBurgh before the meeting if you haven’t tried them yet.
If you go tonight, expect to hear from Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich and the six Public Safety Zone Councils — resident-run groups that are moderating the meeting — as well as about ways to get involved in the community.
And yes, there will be street parking and refreshments.