Curfew seen as last-ditch effort

Chester’s mayor is hoping martial law on city streets overnight will do what recent projects like waterfront development and a casino have been unable to do: shake the city from a grip of violence and crime.

Mayor Wendell Butler Jr. said yesterday he made the decision to levy a curfew on everyone on city streets from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. after he was awakened to the news Saturday of the fourth murder in the last eight days.

“I just got out of bed, dropped my head, totally disgusted,” Butler told Metro on the second of a five-day “state of emergency” that he hopes to extend to 30 days. “I said to myself, ‘That’s it. I got to make a difference right now.’”

Some civil rights activists argue that curfews don’t have a clear-cut effect on curbing violence and even violate civil liberties, but some residents in Chester said they didn’t have a problem with it for now.

“We’ve had one [on juveniles] in the past, but hopefully this time people will listen to it,” said one woman, who declined to give her name, as she got in her car near City Hall yesterday. “We need something for the violence. It’s all over the place.”

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