Monday, June 24, 2024

Downtown Pittsburgh business owners ask for more safety after intern attacked by stranger

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The owners of a Downtown Pittsburgh business are speaking out after one of their interns was attacked by a stranger.

“It’s time to do something. We are seeing it. It’s summer, it’s not safe down here,” said Courtney Gumpf, co-owner of Flying Scooter Productions.

In 2017, the branding agency and film studio set up shop at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Smithfield Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Gumpf said seven years later, so much has changed.

“We are outraged on what has happened over the past few years. We’ve just seen an uptick of not only homelessness but just violence, crime, drug dealing right outside our doors,” Gumpf said. 

Last Wednesday, Flying Scooter Productions’s 18-year-old intern was attacked on Smithfield Street towards Sixth Avenue. The victim, Sofia Mancing, returned to work on Monday.

She’s one of the many young people the business employs to provide workforce development.

“To ask high school kids and college kids to come down here right now is just not right or safe, and that’s a huge part of the economy,” Gumpf said. “We want to fuel the economy.”

That’s become harder for them and others. Some companies have moved out of Downtown, especially those on Smithfield Street, where there are vacant storefronts and boarded-up businesses.

“Our goal would be to stay down here. But at this point, if it goes how it is, there’s no way that we can do that, and that is sad,” said Gumpf.

In response to the attack on Smithfield, Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt issued a statement last Thursday that said, in part:

“Pittsburgh hosts tens of thousands of individuals attending major events during the summer months. Throughout it all, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, Pittsburgh Bureau of EMS, and Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire will continue to work hand-in-hand to keep all of Pittsburgh’s spectators safe and secure.”

“I do think sometimes it’s, we’re going to focus on the big events, which is great,” Gumpf said. “People should feel safe visiting the city. But the people who work and live here need to feel safe because without them the city wouldn’t be what it is today.” 

“It’s not about politics,” Gumpf added. “It’s really about people, and the Downtown businesses are really the tax base that drive the city.”

Flying Scooter Productions is calling on people who live and work in Downtown Pittsburgh to come together to talk about safety.


After attack of intern, Downtown Pittsburgh business owners ask for more safety

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