By Joe Holden

PHILADELPHIA (CBS)– In a city notorious for its violent crime and soaring homicide rate, Chester, Pa., will see a crackdown on illegal gun transactions and an infusion of state police patrols.

“Our goal in this detail is not to take over the responsibility of answering calls for the Chester Police department,” Lt. James Hennigan said.

Instead, state troopers will back-up Chester Police in some instances.

The Delaware County DA’s office is kicking in $100,000 for the agreement.

The money comes from a drug forfeiture account and gaming grants, approved by county council.

“Like every other department, they have limited resources so at my suggestion, I indicated we would supplement their salaries by paying for their overtime,” DA Jack Whelan said.

By the numbers, Chester violence this year is on par with previous years.

In 2016, there were 125 shooting victims and 27 homicides. This year, the DA’s office shows shots were fired nearly every day. They count 46 shooting victims and 10 unsolved homicides.

“We know many residents in the city are forced to sleep in the basement, they can’t stand by the windows, they can’t sit out on their porches because they fear for their lives,” said Delaware County Councilman Dave White

Also paid for by drug forfeiture proceeds, people will be rewarded for their efforts in reporting information on illegal guns  – those weapons have been singled out as a major driving force in city shootings.

“Those lawbreakers will be brought to justice, in part, because of this type of an initiative,” Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland said.

The ATF has also joined in the operation, providing an agent to help with firearms. The extra state police presence is expected to be sustained through the fall.

 

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