: I'm starting to get some reaction to my call for citizens to sound off about gunfire in Chester.
Here's what one resident emailed me:
"Seriously terrified. My in-laws refuse to move out of the city! My husband WORKS in the city. I pray for their safety. It makes me sick that someone can't declare Marshall Law and go in and clean house in Chester. It's always the warmer months that you see more action. The cockroaches stay indoors in the winter months."
And one more, with the often-heard response that the few give a bad impression for the rest of the city:
"I am a former city resident. I know there are many, many good people who live there. Of course I am concerned about the shootings; but I am also concerned for the good people in the city because they are getting short shrift because of these happenings. I think it's wonderful that you are doing a story on this. I read your post this morning in Heron's Nest and liked the focus of it. It sounds to me like you are also trying to make the point that many city residents are very concerned about this. That angle alone may help to change the perception of Chester's people as a whole Thank you. This is an important story."
This just in:
My mom and step dad just moved onto Clover Lane in Chester and they have heard gunshots five times in three weeks in their location. They met the man Derrick who was an innocent victim in the fatality a week prior to his wrong place wrong time. He was a barber down the street and even offered to cut their dogs hair for free because he knew they were broke and down on their luck. They heard those gun shots that unfortunately took his life, and when they found out it was the guy they met right after moving in, they felt so sorry for him and his family's loss. They visited his memorial and the day he was buried his poor 4-year-old son got hit by a van and died from his injuries. That's just one story, imagine all the thousands. They stay inside and close shade and lock windows afraid for their lives every day. You can't even walk up the street in broad daylight without fearing for your life.
"It's so sad. Broken homes, hurt families, poverty-stricken and broke. This city was once an OK place many years ago. Our local church is helping with Ninth Street youth ministry, and CitiTam but this city needs more than a few helping caring people. It needs a complete clean up and out and renovation to save these poor children from cycling the same lifestyle. It's so sad for them, they don't have any hope or a chance hardly. Get the word out. People need to help, officials, government etc."
Here's one more:
" I am 48 years old and I have lived in the City all of my life. It hasn’t been until this year that I have thought about moving out of the city. It’s just ridiculous any more, it seems like every other day there is an incident, and someone said when it gets warm the cockroaches come out?? That is not true, we have heard gun shots all winter so the cockroaches do not have a favorite season! My biggest concern used to be raising my children to be productive, thoughtful, God-fearing citizens. Now my biggest concern is my youngest making it off of the school bus stop without getting shot at or shot. Something has got to give the city cannot hold any many more teddy bear memorials.
I'll keep publishing them. Keep sending them to me!
It's easy to take potshots at the city of Chester.
Actually somebody is doing just that. Lots of people are firing guns in the city.
We're getting calls here in the newsroom that gunfire is now a routine occurrence in some parts of the city.
Earlier this week we reported on a random shooting where gunshots hit a truck driver as he drove down a city street. A recent homicide is believed by police to be a situation where an innocent victim was caught in the crossfire.
Of the 15 homicides recorded this year in Delaware County, seven of them have occurred in the city of Chester.
A Facebook post on a board hosted by a group of city residents complained about the situation in the William Penn Projects.
I have had one county law enforcement official indicate to me concern is growing about the situation.
This is the message that was delivered to me, after this person also joined a Facebook posting board for Chester residents:
"I've noticed that there are a lot of posts from Chester residents concerning people shooting guns all hours of the night in residential neighborhoods," this source said "Just reading the posts makes me afraid for the safety of the children and good people living in the city. It may be the usual break in the weather or something else going on. But, people are not safe and they are afraid.
"I know many Delco residents don't care about the people living in Chester, but I do. My organization has been trying to help as have others. We all try in our way to be a positive influence, especially for the children. Please keep reporting on Chester. I can only hope that things will change."
I'd like to think the newspaper can be part of the solution.
But first I want to detail the situation. If you'd like to go on the record and discuss the gun situation in the city, send me an email to email@example.com.
We're planning a story focusing on the increase in gunfire in the city.
Is it just a sign of warmer weather? Is this different than other situations? Is it being blown out of proportion?
I'd like to hear from the people who live there and have to deal with the 'pop-pop-pop' that sometimes seems like the soundtrack to their lives.