Pittsburgh, PA is a city of some 300,000 people. They used to have a damn good police department with enough officers to stay on top of crime.  My old friend and fellow instructor John Farnam recently called our attention to the situation there now. You can read about it here.

Yes, there is crime in Pittsburgh. Thirty-some years ago, I arrived there to give a lecture for the Center for Advancement of Applied Ethics at Carnegie-Mellon University. I wound up in a very nice hotel which, strangely, did not have the customary double lock on the door. In the wee hours of the morning, I was awakened by the sound of a key going into my door and the door opening.

By the time the feral-faced white dude got through the door, I already had my SIG-Sauer P220 .45 pointed at him, my finger on the trigger because there wasn’t much space between us and he was moving toward me. The expression on his face turned to horror, and he backed up and slammed the door behind him.

I called the desk. They sent up their security guy. Interesting that a good hotel would need one working 24/7. When I told him what happened he went white-faced and said “Thank God it was your room, Captain!”

They never caught him to my knowledge, nor found out how he got a key. Mine had been the first room to the right off the elevator. If it had been occupied by someone unarmed and helpless…

Pittsburgh is now getting an extra-strong taste of what’s happening around the country. Anti-police politicians, prosecutors, and media outlets have told young people who would have been good cops that they don’t want to become the Gestapo, and veteran cops are leaving the profession in droves.

At least in Pennsylvania people can readily get concealed carry permits, and visitors who go through the hoops can get non-resident permits.

When there aren’t enough police to protect everyone – which there aren’t, anywhere – it is imperative that law-abiding citizens be able to protect themselves.


  1. I left the Pittsburgh area in 1988. The requirement to live inside the city has always been a drag on recruitment for the emergency services jobs. Even before then, the major downtown hotels had armed security, I don’t recall if they had on staff folks, if they did it was daylight only plain clothes. I doubt the armed security was 24/7 but don’t recall either way. I expect your visitor got a copy of a house keeping master key.

    The city is a Democratic bastion and, along with Philadelphia, well known for corruption. Back before the 2020 election a court ordered a purging of the county voter rolls. Nearly 70,000 were removed. The roosting chickens have apparently been replaced by vultures.

    I used to travel quite a lot. There’s a device available from industrial suppliers called a scaffold clip used to lock tube type scaffold sections together. A steel pin with a half moon section to wrap around a scaffold leg to keep it in place. Makes an outstanding door chock. Get at least two. One for the hall door, one for any interconnecting door. The rubber door stops where there’s not enough clearance for the clips.

  2. We are witnessing the planned systemic destruction of our once great nation. I hope that I’m old enough to ride it out but I have seriously told my son that he needs to start planning for a post-American future. I don’t know where that will be because when this country falls the rest of the free world will likely go with it. Cheers!

  3. It is the same pattern all over the U.S.

    Let’s look at the numbers. According to Wikipedia, the population of Pittsburg is about 303,000 people. The linked article (above) gives the size of the police force as 740 officers. Thus, the ratio of people per officer = 303,000 / 740 = 709 people to police per officer.

    Now, let’s look at another city. In this case, Metro Nashville/Davidson County (combined Government) in Tennessee. Again, Wikipedia puts the population of the Greater Metro Nashville area at about 716,000 people. Wikipedia also gives the size of the police department as 1,757 officers (in 2020). Therefore the Metro Nashville ratio = 716,000 / 1,757 = 407.5 people to police per officer.

    Well, what do you know? Nashville seems to be in the same boat at Pittsburg. See this story:


    BTW, I just love the above headline. These media propagandists say that it “raises the concerns for some”. Ha, Ha. We are in the midst of a left-wing, communists effort to undermine social order, here in the U.S.A, so that they can install their socialist/communist utopia and assume permanent political power. Thus, we see the systematic efforts to undermine the police, free criminals, open our borders, and maximize social chaos.

    I guess all this is not a cause for concern for the communist propagandists in the worthless Nashville news media. To them, this is a “feature not a bug”.

    Well, it sure bugs me! I hope that it bugs enough normal Americans to throw these communist grifters out on their cans next November!

    • Typo correct to my comment (above). The ratio figure for Pittsburg is 409 people to police per officer. I typed 709 by mistake. The correct number is important because I wanted to show how similar the 409 figure, for Pittsburg, is to the 407.5 figure for Metro Nashville/Davidson County.

      Sorry for the error.

  4. Peel’s principles #7.

    To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

    • This principle cuts to the heart of the issue.

      All it takes to maintain civilization is to allow good (wo)men to go armed. They will behave themselves. And they will deal with bad (wo)men who go armed against the sanction of society.

      If enough of the former are allowed to step-up to “the plate” and contribute their duty to civilization, we shall have civilization.

      What we are doing in America isn’t working. Only the few good (wo)men covered by LEOSA are allowed do go armed nearly everywhere they go.

      I see no solution whatsoever to the multiple shooting problem other than expanding the pool of good (wo)men who are allowed to carry everywhere.

      Good article and discussion.

  5. I am amazed at what the people in the blue cities (and states) will put up with. Most folks are complacent because they are counting on statistical odds of not being a crime victim. It’s like people that fish in a thunderstorm – they believe crap happens to others but not to them. I guess it is true what they say about the definition of a conservative – “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged”. If it is getting this bad now, think what it will be like in those cities during a societal collapse. Everyone should be looking for a solution to what is keeping them living in those cities.

    • RE: “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.” — Unfortunately, liberals get mugged a lot in those blue cities, too. (The criminals don’t care about your political leanings.) But they still vote liberal.

      I’m not sure how this level of brainwashing happened, but I think we’re dealing with two core beliefs that are so ingrained into urban liberals’ minds, conservatives simply cannot win:
      1. Republicans are racists, so a vote for a Republican is a vote for race lynchings and Jim Crow laws.
      2. The police are the problem, and if they weren’t arresting black men en masse for minor offenses, there would be less crime.

      Thus, a Democrat can run on an actual, bona fide racist platform, but not be thought racist because they don’t have the ‘R’ after their name. And they’ll still win on a promise to defund the police.

      What confuses me is that both of these beliefs are easily refutable on multiple levels, but you’ll never convince liberal city-dwellers that they are not 100% fact. The indoctrination is impenetrable.

      “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged” might be true in the suburbs. Sadly, in the big blue cities, a liberal who gets mugged is still a liberal.

      • Democrats do evil. Republicans do nothing. Sex change operations on minors are child abuse. What is the Republican politicians’ response?Squatting can’t be legal. What do the Republicams do about it?

      • @Roger Willco: Democrats are the Evil Party; Republicans are the Stupid Party.

        Currently, the GOP is too Stupid to give two sh!ts about the real social Evils their constituents care about. (And that’s assuming they are real Republicans, and not RINOs who support the same evils as Democrats but with an ‘R’ after their name. “Bipartisan”!)

        “Female circumcision” is practiced in third-world nations, usually Muslim-majority. It’s seen as “genital mutilation” here, and a terrible form of child abuse. And rightly so.

        But “gender-affirming surgery” is different? Why? Because it’s done by a religious-fundamentalist doctor* instead of a religious-fundamentalist midwife?

        I understand why Squatters’ Rights came to be, but IMO they never should have. If private property rights are to mean anything, no transients’ “rights” can ever supersede those of the property owner.

        (The Achilles’ Heel of the Leftists’ argument about Squatters’ Rights — which you’ll NEVER hear from them or the media — is that “squatters” must be actively taking care of the property and structures as if they owned them for any claim to stick. If migrants move in and don’t do the maintenance, or worse yet, trash the place, they have no rights. The entire premise of Squatters’ Rights is predicated on the property NOT losing value or becoming derelict.)

        * – Leftism/Woke-ism is a fundamentalist religion — the Government is its God, Political Correctness is its Commandments, Woke activists and politicians are its clergy, and independent thinkers are its apostates. Change my mind. (Please! I’d LOVE to be wrong on that!)

      • Archer,

        I just want to add one point to what you wrote about squatters’ “rights.” This will be obvious to the readers here, but I want to mention it in case some young person is reading this blog.

        Look at the injustice being done to homeowners. They pay for the house and land. They pay property taxes for the schools, police and other government services. Then they pay for utilities, like electricity and water. If the police will not remove the squatters, then the homeowners have to hire lawyers, to fight it out in court. Those homeowners already paid for the police to keep law and order, but the government is allowing the house to be stolen from the rightful homeowners. They are getting no value for the taxes they paid. It’s like they are getting robbed first by the squatters, and then by their own government, which they supported.

      • @Roger Willco: I agree that what’s being done to homeowners whose houses are taken over by squatters is an injustice that should not be allowed.

        But if I may play Devil’s Advocate for a moment, the flip-side is the harm to the rest of the neighborhood when an unoccupied dwelling falls into disrepair and rot. Today we call them “zombie houses”. They’re a blight on the neighborhood, and can actually be dangerous — if, say, the roof starts to leak, black mold sets in, and the water gets to the electrical systems — and their presence reduces the property values of all the homes around them through no fault of those other homeowners. They have rights, too.

        (We had a “zombie house” on our old street. The city spent several years making every attempt to contact the owner to come and repair the damage. Eventually it caught fire — I think someone had broken in and set up a meth lab — and the city had to tear it down as a hazardous structure. We had another unoccupied house on the same street, but not a “zombie house”; that owner was in hospice, her estate kept the taxes paid, and her son came by every month or so to mow the lawn and tidy things up. Nice guy.)

        If squatters move in and do what they’re expected to do — keep up the property as if it’s theirs and pay the utilities (which I forgot in my previous comment) — then the value is maintained, not just of that house, but of all the surrounding properties, too. The actual owner still has rights and can go through the eviction process (which, yes, is an unbelievably long and expensive travesty of justice, but in my mind that’s a tangential issue) to get them out.

        OTOH, if squatters move in and trash the place, the owner should be able to have the police forcibly remove them as if they were home invaders — which they kind of are — or be allowed to do it him/herself.

        But really, if the owner knew they weren’t going to live there, they could/should have rented it out to responsible tenants, or sold the property. Either option avoids this entire mess. (The poor guy who spent a few weeks in the hospital for a medical emergency and came home to find it occupied by squatters shouldn’t have to go through eviction since he still lived there — he hadn’t “abandoned” the property; the police, sheriffs, and everyone else should be 100% on his side and helping get the squatters out.) We like to talk about the owners’ rights, but nobody wants to talk about the owners’ responsibilities that go with them.

        My $0.02 are thus: I agree with you that Squatters’ Rights are an injustice to the homeowner, but I also believe the homeowner has responsibilities attendant to his/her rights and the vast majority of these cases are avoidable if he/she sees to those responsibilities. Finally, if we can fix the eviction process to make it easier/quicker/cheaper to kick out unauthorized/illegitimate occupants, we might not even need to have this discussion.

      • Archer,

        I think you did a good job playing the devil’s lawyer. You made good points. I think one thing a derelict house could be used for is training for the fire department.

  6. If a gardener doesn’t pull the weeds out, the weeds will take over the garden.

    There is an opportunity here for good people to band together, but they probably won’t do it.

    • We’d need a preference cascade before that will happen.

      Until it does, the idea of banding together for community safety is “insurrectionist/vigilante talk”, and the people are conditioned to believe they’re alone in thinking it.

      Until they realize that, no, most people are thinking it but are afraid to say it out loud — which happens very quickly once someone does and everyone suddenly finds allies in their neighbors (that’s the “preference cascade”: a critical mass of people discovering they’re not alone in their dissenting beliefs, and discovering the possibilities suddenly available from that) — they definitely won’t band together. But once they do, they and their community will be better off for it.

      • At least Trump is trying to help. We can unite around him. He could be enjoying a comfortable retirement, but instead, he fights for America. I love that.

      • @Roger Willco: Agreed. Trump certainly has his faults and shortcomings — Heaven knows I’ve acknowledged and discussed them myself plenty of times — but one of his best qualities is that he has no filter; he SAYS the things we all think but can’t say ourselves.

        And he puts the Left’s ire and intentions on full display. But make no mistake: he’s just an avatar. He represents us. As much as they hate and want to destroy him for saying these things, they feel the same toward us for thinking them. Trump is the loudest voice so he’s drawing their fire for now, but if/when he’s gone they WILL turn their sights our direction.

        I can’t tell if he’s continuing to fight because he truly values America and the Constitution, or because he just can’t stand losing, but right now I frankly don’t care. Right now, I’ll take someone who does the right thing for the wrong reason over someone who does the wrong thing for any reason, any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

  7. I was stationed in Lebanon, Pennsylvania for a little over a year. Government there at all levels has more bureaucracy per square foot than anywhere else I’ve lived, yet also had the least effective government.

    Fun fact: we were 30 miles from Three Mile Island when it tripped its fuses. No, we don’t glow in the dark.

    • Interesting. Let’s compare Three Mile Island to Chernobyl. America versus The Soviet Union. How many people migrate to the USA versus how many people migrate to Russia? Marxists will never learn that Marx’ ideas sound good on paper, but don’t work in the real world.

  8. Sadly, there’s not much that private citizens can do about property crime such as theft from the driveway or carport.

    It may require a new kind of architecture.

    For example, I read that in the middle east it used to be common to build a line of connected houses in a circle, Windows to the outside were only on upper floors (if at all); doors and most windows all faced inside to the courtyard with one entrance from outside to the inner courtyard (which might have been guarded) that all residents could see from their windows. All residents could see everyone else’s front doors, as well.

    That limited privacy, I suppose, as everyone could see who your guests were. But it made it difficult for burglars and thieves to work undetected.

  9. I did some speculative property shopping around TMI after the “issue”. Either folks felt it was no big deal or they thought no one read/watched the news. Would have been nice to have a place on the river, but not at those prices.

    Part of the proliferation of government in PA is due to the balkanization. You have city, county and borough/township governments, plus the state. The cities have specific boundaries and they can’t annex more land and they all have their own governments. Allegheny County had 137 different entities in it. Sounds confusing, but in practice it works pretty well. I’d get a county property tax bill and then a township school tax bill and that pretty much took care of the tax situation-except for the state income tax.

    The big advantage-if you didn’t live in Pittsburgh or one of the densely populated entities-was that you had direct local government contact and the residents could get things done with a minimum of bureaucratic delay since there were only a very limited number of folks involved. Not too hard to get right to the responsible person. Except for maintenance of the state highways:(

    I live in a rural-but getting bleeping suburbanized-area in another state. Pretty much only deal with county government. Unfortunately, there are a few of those in county employ who play the bureaucrat from Hell role. The Board of Supervisors can help out there.

  10. State contempt for the Constitution really hampers lawful carry for travelers. Yes, some states honor my CPL but far too many don’t. This forces us to travel ‘naked’ or take our chances and carry anyway. A horrible conundrum.

  11. I’m from at least near Pittsburgh though I haven’t lived there in a long time. A few comments that likely will not make much difference but:
    1. If you are going to comment check up and spell the name of the place correctly, its pittsburgH with an “h”.

    2. The other Pittsburg (without the “h”) is in Kansas and has a crime rate of 5000 per 100,000 (yes, 5000 it is not a typo) rather than 402 (2020) down from 656 in 2017 for Pittsburgh, PA.

    3. When you are comparing with Nashville Metro or other places please also take into account that because of the quaint layering of police and other municipal responsibilities in Pennsylvania, Allegheny County that surrounds the City of Pittsburgh also has police, fire, EMS, corrections and other responsibilities and people to perform them adding to the head count, though I’m not sure how many to be comparable to the Nashville example.

    4. Regardless of head count of law enforcement personnel there were areas of the city that you had to be wary about going into, especially at night, just like any other city. City of Pittsburgh police were as good as any, better than many when I lived there. In those days you could listen to the police radio on vhf and hear things as they happened except for the really juicy parts of serious investigations. It was the stuff of any concentration of people with drunks, traffic accidents, fights mostly. Some drug stuff and burglaries too. Some of the officers didn’t behave that nicely to some of the citizens but were in the main pretty good, though racism was a problem and likely still is.

    5. If you go by the data with all it’s shortcomings, rather than anecdotes crime in Pittsburgh is pretty low compared to comparable U.S. cities and has gone down over the last 10 years or so. Not too bad for a city with all kinds of tax base and revenue problems that I’m sure make it difficult to recruit and retain people.

  12. Strange how right wing crime like the violence on January 6th 2021 at the Capital doesn’t seem to bother any of you:
    Within 36 hours, five people died: one was shot by Capitol Police, another died of a drug overdose, and three died of natural causes, including a police officer. Many people were injured, including 174 police officers. Four officers who responded to the attack died by suicide within seven months.[29] Damages caused by attackers exceeded $2.7 million.’


    • @ nicholas kane – “Strange how right wing crime like the violence on January 6th 2021 at the Capital doesn’t seem to bother any of you:”

      I can see that you have totally “bought into” the narratives of the left-wing controlled media. You seem to have swallowed the media narrative “hook, line and sinker”, so to speak.

      Please let me offer a “non-media spun” counter-viewpoint:

      1) Right-wing folks are not “bothered” by supposed January 6th right-wing crime because no crimes were committed by right-leaning members of the public on January 6th. All the crimes committed that day were inspired and performed by left-wing actors.

      2) The left-wing crimes committed on January 6th were:

      a) The left-wing leadership, in the House of Representatives, deliberately had security to stand down so as the create the conditions whereby a trespass/riot could occur. In effect, security “opened the door” to allow the event to occur.
      b) Left-wing “Agent Provocateurs” then encouraged the “mostly peaceful protestors” to enter the building. They also planted fake “bombs” to create the appearance of a crisis (Never let a crisis go to waste. Especially one that you create yourself!)
      c) The two conditions, above, gave the House Leadership the legal excuse, that it needed, to shortcut the presidential certification process. It allowed them to “crown” Biden as President in such a way that the Republican Party had no grounds for an appeal to the Supreme Court regarding election irregularities.
      d) The worst violence was committed by a left-wing soldier. As you noted, it was by a member of the Capitol Police. He murdered an unarmed protestor in cold blood. This murder was then covered up and excused by the Left. It was never investigated much less prosecuted.
      e) As far as people dying, afterwards, of natural causes or by suicide, why blame the right for such events? Who knows why those people died or committed suicide? Perhaps they realized that they had been suckered and used as tools, by the left, and had betrayed their country. Maybe they committed suicide in atonement of their crimes. Maybe the left eliminated them because they knew too much and were a security threat. Who knows? I would not put any crime, even secret murder or genocide, beyond the reach of the American Left.
      f) I do know that the Left, and their media attack dogs, used the incident as an excuse to conduct a “witch hunt” for “mostly peaceful protestors”. Many hundreds were rounded up and thrown in jail as political prisoners. This was done to suppress the public’s 1st Amendment Right to Petition the Government for a redress of grievances. The Left was making it clear that it would not tolerate anyone standing up, in opposition, to their “Power Grab”.

      So, why on Earth should people, with right-wing views, be “bothered” about supposed “crimes” committed by right-wing protestors on January 6th? I assure you that any crimes committed, by the right on January 6th, pale to insignificance compared with the long list of crimes perpetrated, on that day, by the American Left.

      Ha, ha, ha! Only someone, under the influence of the media’s left-wing narratives, would think that we should!

      Let me set your mind at ease. I do not feel even a single, tiny twinge of guilt over supposed right-wing crimes committed on January 6th. That is because I do not “wallow in guilt” over imaginary causes!

      Quote of the Day:

      “My strength is as the strength of ten
      Because my heart is pure.”

      Alfred Tennyson, from the Poem “Sir Galahad”

      • @TN_MAN: I would not put any crime, even secret murder or genocide, beyond the reach of the American Left.

        Epstein didn’t kill himself.

    • nicholas kane,

      I wish my fellow patriots had not taken the bait on January 6th, 2021. I wish no one had ever approached the Capitol. They should have gone home.

      However, January 6th was one day. The riots in Portland, Oregon continued for about 100 days.

      Leftists get away with shoplifting and other crimes. Meanwhile, New Jersy owners of AR-15s have to have the adjustable stocks to their weapons pinned in one place, so they are no longer dangerous assault weapon adjustable stocks.

  13. No reasonable person would seek to be a police officer today. Not after covid. Not after countless examples of gestapo inspired jack books stomping on decent people. The only kind of person who seeks to be a police officer in a major US city today is either a militarized sociopath looking for another way to kill without consequences (where the target is not usually armed and cannot lawfully return fire) or they are basically a loser with a chip on their shoulder seeking revenge on society. The only good person that I know of who became a police officer recently just quit, realizing that the money it just not worth destroying your life, soul, and everything else (https://anniehatke.substack.com/p/end-of-things).

    So many videos on YouTube prove my assertions beyond a reasonable doubt (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4km6UjOH2Y). And why? Because the good police, which staffed most departments until the last few years, let it happen. They even encouraged it. Go ahead watch those videos. StreetCop training is still alive and well after being exposed. Basically everyone involved here should have been convicted by now of depriving citizens’ right under color of law. But in the end the cops work for prosecutors. They can never be expected to police themselves. And the power of the pension keeps even the good ones in line, covering up the crimes of the bad ones.

    • What is the point of arresting criminals, if George Soros prosecutors just let them back into society?

      In the movie, “Magnum Force,” Dirty Harry thinks it is wrong for the police to act like vigilantes. (Judge, jury and executioner). In my mind, I know that Dirty Harry is right. However, I can’t help but think society would be better if the police had a license to kill goblins.

      When gangsters kill gangsters, that is positive for society, unless a gangster is a bad shot.

    • @ Roger Willco – “However, I can’t help but think society would be better if the police had a license to kill goblins.”

      I must disagree here. The police are just human. If given such power, they would abuse it. The police (or at least some of them) could not resist exploiting such power for their own ends.

      No, what we need is an end to political bias in our justice system. The use of lawfare tactics, by the Left or anybody else, needs to end. The “Two-Tiered” justice system, built by the American Left, needs to be overthrown and safeguards put in-place so that justice is dispensed with an even hand and without either political bias or favoritism to the wealthy elites.

      No human-based justice system will ever be perfect, but we can (and ought) to do much better than the corrupt system that is currently in-place in America.

      A system that (as much as humanly possible) dispenses justice firmly, and with an even hand, would go a long ways toward solving many of the problems that we currently have in the country.

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