The empty lot at Rose and Upland Streets where Whelan and about 20 community leaders, police, clergy, and politicians had gathered was chosen for a reason. Over the last several years there have been three killings within sight of the corner.
"The residents have every right to gripe," said Whelan. He promised residents at the news conference that there soon would be more officers on their streets.
In a few days, state police will add patrols by up to nine unmarked and marked cars, he said. The extra shifts will be paid for by donations from area businesses, including Widener University, the Philadelphia Union, and Crozer-Chester Medical Center. Whelan would not reveal the amount of the donations.
Whelan, Chester Mayor John Linder, and Joseph Ryan, chief of the county's Criminal Investigation Division, have been walking in some of Chester's more troubled neighborhoods, organizing cleanups and meeting with neighbors.
"These walks have been super-productive," said Whelan. Residents 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, 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 that was not enough. He said hopes the task force will make a difference.
The task force will address violence across the county, Whelan said. It was started in Chester because summer months have traditionally seen an uptick in crime there.
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 will help investigate possible "straw" purchases of weapons and provide assistance with homicide investigations.
Contact Mari A. Schaefer at 610-892-9149 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow on Twitter @MariSchaefer.