The empty lot at Rose and Upland Streets where Whelan and about 20 community leaders, police, clergy, and politicians gathered was chosen for a reason.
"The residents have every right to gripe," said Whelan. He picked the site because over the last several years there have been three killings within sight of the corner.
Whelan promised residents attending the news conference there soon would be more police officers on their streets.
In a few days, Pennsylvania State Police will be adding extra patrols by up to nine unmarked and marked cars, he said. The extra shifts will be paid for by private donations from area businesses, including Widener University, the Philadelphia Union, and Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Whelan would not reveal the amounts of the donations.
Whelan, Chester Mayor John Linder, and Joseph Ryan, chief of the county's Criminal Investigation Division, have been doing walks in some of Chester's more troubled neighborhoods, organizing cleanups, and been going door-to-door to meet with neighbors.
"These walks have been super-productive," said Whelan. Citizens have given police information on stolen cars, drug dealers, and neglected children, he said.
"No one should fear being hit by stray bullets," Whelan said. "Living in fear is not acceptable."
Early Tuesday morning, 25 people with active warrants were arrested in Chester on drug charges, Whelan said.
Linder said 50 people have been arrested recently and 90 guns taken off the streets, but it was not enough. He hopes the task force will make a difference from this point on.
The task force will address violence across the county, Whelan said. It has started in Chester because summer months have traditionally seen an uptick in crime.
To date, there have been eight killings in Chester this year and 135 incidents of gunfire that have resulted in property damage.
In addition to extra street patrols, Whelan said county detectives would help investigate possible straw purchases of weapons and provide assistance with homicide investigations in Chester.
Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @MariSchaefer.