Men of faith walked alongside men of force on Monday in a show of solidarity against gun violence that has wreaked havoc on the neighborhoods of Chester City this summer. A crowd of about 30 people gathered on the corner at 1100 W. 2nd St. outside the Providence Baptist Church. The “safety walk” was in partnership with the church and members of the Ministerial Fellowship of Chester and Vicinity. They walked the neighborhood along 3rd St., greeting residents and handing them contact information urging them to anonymously tip-off police if they learn of serious crime.
“We are partnering with the DA’s office and other law enforcement because we realize it’s going to take a joint effort to solve some of the crime problems,” said McGee. “We’re happy to be here. We’re happy to assist because change is coming.”
Delaware County District Attorney John “Jack” Whelan said the event was a coordinated effort to win the community’s trust and participation in stemming gun violence by reporting offenses to the DA and local law enforcement. Representatives from various law enforcement agencies accompanied the clergy and DA including the ATF, Septa police, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Delco Sheriff’s Department and The DA’s Criminal Investigations Division (CID).
“It’s a coordinated effort on many different levels with state, local government and the federal government working together in the City of Chester to show they care about the residents and we can all work together to try to stop some of the excessive gun violence,” said Whelan.
Only minutes before the crowd had gathered to start the walk, word came that another shooting had taken place on 22nd St. and Edgmont Ave. The victim’s status was not known at the time.
“Just minutes ago we heard of an incident where shots are fired and somebody was struck,” relayed Whelan. “It has to stop. It really has to stop. It’s not going to stop unless we get out and knock on doors.”
Bill Green moved back to Chester five years ago. He said the change is like nothing he expected since leaving town back in 1974.
“This is what we should be doing. I’m out here trying to stop the violence,” said Green. “You never know. It might be your (family) next and that would be the saddest part.”