Mayor Wendell N. Butler Jr., the mayor of Chester, Pa., has declared a state of emergency after four shooting deaths in an eight-day period. The Philadelphia Union will play its first game at its new stadium in Chester on Sunday. The stadium in the city's West End is the centerpiece of a hoped-for $500 million riverfront revival.
The mayor's action includes increased police patrols and 9 p.m. curfews in high-crime areas. Some have questioned why it took a soccer game to spur the city's response to what they viewed as a long-standing crime crisis.
"We've been in a state of emergency for the past four, five years," said Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland, who lives three blocks from where a 2-year-old boy was shot and killed on June 13. "There is a state of emergency now because there is a soccer stadium opening up on Sunday, and we want to make sure the people coming in here feel safe. And I understand that. But we've been trying to feel safe around here for a long time."
"I think it's a real good thing," said Manny Gonzalez, who works at his brother's hot dog stand, John's Doggie Shop. "It should have been done a long time ago."