Drug Issues Account for the Biggest Public Safety Concern in Local Area

By Brittany Sackett

Tarentum, Pa.—A local township fights hard to keep the community safe via law enforcement officers and security personnel with the drug issues and retail theft concerns.

Matt Kaminski, Sergeant of Frazer Township Police, deals with public safety concerns on a daily basis. Kaminski not only deals with calls in that township but also issues relating to the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills. Kaminski has been a police officer for nine years, and for two and a half years he has been with Frazer Township.

Frazer Township law enforcement and the Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills security personnel work together to help keep the area safe and the public out of danger. The departments’ biggest concern in this area is the high volume of drug use as well as trafficking.

“High volume of heroin use is the biggest issue,” said Kaminski, “It’s difficult to tell who is using the drug because we deal with teenagers to parents that are addicted to the drug.” This area has an issue with drug use because it is conveniently located between Rt. 28, the PA Turnpike, and downtown Pittsburgh, where the sources can be unlimited and difficult to pinpoint.

Without working and funding support, the department would not be able to perform their duties efficiently.

The township does provide support to the department but as Kaminski stated, “Everyday we learn of different ways crimes are committed or how drugs/weapons are concealed.”

“It’s tough to stay ahead of the criminals,” Kaminski added.

The most troublesome crime for the Frazer Township Police Department is retail theft, due to the Pittsburgh Mills Mall and the surrounding retail stores.

“Retail theft is the biggest problem,” Kaminski said, “However, 80-85% of the retails involve junkies trying to support their habit.”

Joe Martino, Police officer of Frazer Township, works closely with Sergeant Kaminski, other township officers, and mall security personnel. He has been a police officer for two years and with Frazer Township for ten months.

Martino agrees that drugs are a large issue within the area, but stated that the main public safety goal is to “keep the businesses safe so that families will continue to come.”

The residents of Frazer Township support their police department as well as surrounding retail stores.

“A lot of businesses such as Wal-Mart give us grants, which provide support to purchase assault rifles and computers,” said Martino.

Brian Grant, Security Director of Galleria at Pittsburgh Mills, has worked for the mall for four years. “Public safety is the mall’s biggest concern, providing a safe and pleasant shopping experience is our goal,” said Grant.

“We maintain a good working relationship with the Frazer Police Department,” Grant stated. He added that once in a while, “we also support the Pennsylvania State Police when necessary.”

Grant agreed that retail theft is a serious problem. “Juvenile crime and shoplifting account for most of our crimes in the mall,” he said.

Any persons who have public safety issues in this area are encouraged to contact the Frazer Township Police Department. Anyone that sees suspicious activity occurring is also advised to contact law enforcement in order to keep the public safe.

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