- Associated Press - Thursday, May 22, 2014

CHESTER, Pa. (AP) - The mayor of the southeastern Pennsylvania city of Chester says he wants at least a tenfold increase in the number of security cameras to help combat an increase in killings and other violent crime.

There have been 14 homicides so far this year in the city, the first time in at least a decade the number has reached double digits this early, according to state data.

No suspects have been arrested in any of the homicides, Mayor John Linder told The Philadelphia Inquirer (https://bit.ly/1tnUTav ).

He said there are fewer than 10 cameras scattered around the city, and installing more than 100 would both help police solve crimes and make residents feel safer.

“There’s been talk about having cameras around the city, but the initiative never got started,” said Linder, whose own wife was carjacked a week ago.

Linder said the effort would cost about $3 million, and partnerships would be sought from local businesses along with grant money to pay the cost.

Widener University had offered to contribute about $250,000 for cameras near its campus. City officials are also talking with Crozer-Keystone Health System and other local firms.

On Tuesday night, a 24-year-old man was shot to death in one part of the city of 34,000 residents. A 12-year-old boy was wounded at another intersection.

Officials announced the Operation City Surge initiative earlier with the county prosecutors and state and federal law enforcement agencies to increase police presence in the city, try to stem straw purchases of guns and involve federal agencies in investigating and prosecuting crime.

Linder said he also planned to organize volunteers to stand on street corners to watch over students after school and keep an eye on public parks during summer. But he also said any solution had to be comprehensive because improving schools and stimulating economic development could also reduce violence.

Linder’s wife, Deana, was carjacked at gunpoint May 14 after parking near her home. She wasn’t hurt and her car was recovered. Several suspects were arrested and one has been charged.

The mayor said the attackers hadn’t targeted his wife, calling the crime simply the latest example of “random violence” plaguing the city.

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Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, https://www.inquirer.com


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