Chester State of Emergency Working: Officials

Late-night curfew stopping violent crimes, but some residents say it's unfair

A mandatory curfew at the center of a state of emergency declaration in Chester, Pa. is working to curb violent crimes, according to officials. Now they want to extend it.

Chester Mayor Wendell Butler, Jr. put five areas of the city under the emergency declaration after a string of deadly shootings last week.

In a mere eight days, four people -- including a toddler -- were killed in the small city of only around 35,000 people.

Mayor Butler says the curfew he imposed that barred people from walking the streets between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. without a permit works. Since it was imposed on Saturday night, there have been no shootings and that's a welcome statistic from residents.

"I feel much safer," resident Deborah Womack said Monday. "You don't have all the guys hanging on the street anymore and you don't have to worry about being shot down here."

Chester Police have been working 12-hour shifts since the emergency declaration. The Pennsylvania State Police and FBI have also kicked in additional resources and men to help increase patrols.

But while many are happy with the move, some see it as unfair.

"I can't come out after 9 o'clock? I'm a grown man," exclaimed a man named Tauhid. "You all know who's shooting…put them in the park and let 'em shoot each other."

Barber Mark Medley says he works hard and should be free to roam his neighborhood.

"You've got people over here that work and living right and you gonna make everybody suffer on the hands of a minor few," Medley said.

Mayor Butler says the curfew gives law enforcement the opportunity to stop those who are roaming the area to ensure they aren’t planning to commit a crime. He also admits the target of the curfew are gangs of teens.

For most, though, the life of a child is more important than the inconvenience.

"Children getting hurt, don't nobody have an answer for nothin', but everybody wanna go out here and kill each other. It's got to come to an end," says Shayna Martin.

The mayor hopes to have the curfew extended by an additional 30 days. He plans to ask Chester City Council on Wednesday.

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