This summer the city of Chester is fighting crime like it never has before.
After rates of gun violence reached “epidemic” levels earlier this year, city officials kicked off Operation City Surge in May.
The initiative puts more police on the streets and increases the number of routine stops by law enforcement, all at a time when Chester Mayor John Linder is reaching out to residents desperate for a change.
“I know we have a culture of ‘no-snitch,’ but there are good people in the community who don’t want to stand for it and will give you cooperation and help when you need it,” Linder said.
Nicole Cogdell, one of the mayor’s community liaisons, says residents don’t blame the government for rising crime rates. In fact, she says, they want to help.
“It’s a we, it’s a team, it’s a community,” Cogdell said.
They’ve developed a block captains program and convened a series of steering committees to develop specific visions for revitalizing certain areas of Chester.
Linder is also asking businesses in the city to install more security cameras and fighting one of the root causes of crime by aiming programs at one of Chester’s neediest populations: the unemployed.
“Jobs, job development, building a workforce — because even when the jobs come, we have to have a viable workforce of people who have the skills and build them to the capacity where they can take those jobs.”