Thursday, May 4, 2017

Safe streets in Chester? Bring on the troopers

They're going to take another shot at this in Chester.

"Shot" being the operative word.

Just a couple of hours after county District Attorney Jack Whelan was joined by county and Chester officials to announce that state police patrols would be returning to the violence-plagued city, officers were called to another street shooting.

This is not the first time officials have called into reinforcements - in the form of state troopers - to quell an uptick in gun violence in Chester.

They also hit the streets back in 2016. And 2014 before that.

Again the issue here is guns. Lots of them. In the hands of people who should not have them.

Whelan indicated yesterday that 46 people have been shot in the city through just four months into the year. The county has recorded 10 homicides so far in 2017. All 10 have taken place in Chester.

The uptick in violence comes at a time when the city is struggling to get officers on the streets.

Want to know how bad the situation is.

When five people were wounded in a drive-by shooting Friday night, it matched the number of officers patrolling the city streets. And that was only because one officer agreed to come in on overtime.

The county is putting up $100,000 to get those state troopers on the streets of Chester. The money will come from casino revenues and the D.A.'s office.

It was not a good weekend in Chester. The city recorded seven more shootings.

Adding state troopers is not going to solve Chester's problems.

But it's not going to hurt either.

The city has serious financial and other woes.

Manpower among police has been an issue since a rash of retirements in the wake of fears over the status of a new contract and possible cuts toward the end of last year.

Talks between the city and police continue.

In the meantime, residents, the ones like the woman who was struck when a stray bullet went through a wall and hit her inside her house, no doubt will welcome the sight of more police on their streets.

Officials dubbed this new initiative "Operation Safe Streets."

In Chester, the streets too often have been anything but.

Bring on the troopers.

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