After a string of violence, South Side business owners and residents say it’s been quiet

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The weekend is here, and that’s been a time of concern on the South Side for the past few months.

After months of shootings and mayhem, it’s suddenly quiet on the South Side.

“The last two weeks have been quiet over here on the South Side,” District Justice Gene Ricciardi said. “It’s been peaceful. No shootings, no fights, no reports of vandalism, no noise.”

As some pictures show, the sidewalk crowds have been greatly diminished. And for the past two weeks, there have been no shootings and few if any fights or altercations.

Bar owner Rich Kupka credits Mayor Ed Gainey and an increased police presence with restoring order.

“Gainey did a good job bringing more cops, oversaturation,” Kupka said. “Young cops with the older cops during crowd dispersal. It’s working out pretty good.”

But District Justice Gene Ricciardi cites another reason.

“We can point to one thing: Since the closing of Foxtail and Skybar, it’s been quiet here,” Ricciardi said. “So, is there a correlation?”

Two weeks ago, Skybar, owned by the company Foxtail, voluntarily closed after a video of a woman allowing herself to be sexually violated went viral. The owners of the bar met last week with investigators from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and agents from Pennsylvania Liquor Control Enforcement.

Ricciardi is questioning why LCE hasn’t issued any citations, but it’s not clear that any agency will take action.

In a statement, the LCE says “lewd conduct and indecent exposure does not fall within its enforcement powers” and city police say while they are talking with bar owners about their operation, there is no ongoing investigation.

“Myself, I’d like to see that bar closed permanently,” Ricciardi said.

But while things have quieted down, the South Side may be a little too quiet. Business is down substantially and those business owners would like to see responsible patrons come back.

“Have fun, enjoy the music, have some beverages, enjoy the food, but don’t bring your criminal behavior to the South Side of Pittsburgh,” Ricciardi said.

Skybar did not return a request for comment on Friday.

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