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By Brad Segall

COATESVILLE, Pa. (CBS) — Law enforcement authorities in Chester County, Pa. say they’ve taken more than two dozen people off the streets of Coatesville in a summer-long crime sweep designed to make that community safer.

Authorities say a combination of a reduction in police staffing, the lack of a police chief, and a long, hot summer resulted in a spike in crime in Coatesville that included three homicides in the area over a five-day period in early July.

Law enforcement initiated “Operation Silent Night,” with officers from numerous departments hitting the streets.

“We targeted the unholy trinity of drugs, guns, and money that always take us into violent crime,” says Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan. “And by taking out criminals in those areas, we actually managed to bring some peace and quiet to Coatesville.”

The defendants are charged with crimes ranging from armed robbery and assault to witness intimidation.

Hogan says it’s an ongoing effort and more arrests are expected.

He was also calling on Coatesville to hire a new chief and restore the police department to its full staffing levels.

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