State of Emergency creates Darby curfew

DARBY BOROUGH, Pa. - September 3, 2009 Mayor Helen Thomas says seeing the rash of gun violence over the last few weeks convinced her she had no choice but to declare a State of Emergency.

Darby Police were out letting people know a State of Emergency has been ordered and a curfew was now in effect.

"No one's allowed on the streets. If you need to be on the street and you're stopped by a police officer, just identify yourself, and give him your reason and they're going to let you go," Chief Robert Smythe of the Darby Police said.

Darby covers only 8/10th of a square mile, but densely populated with over 10,000 residents. Sandwiched between Southwest Philadelphia and Upper Darby, there's another 10,000 or so that pass through here. They believe some of the violence is spilling over from Philadelphia. Most of it involves teenagers. Most believe to involve drugs.

"Firing randomly, firing at houses, we've had bullets through windows, bullets shot into a house," Smythe said.

The area affected by the 9:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew are the unit block of Main Street to 5th, Greenway Avenue, Berbro, Darby Terrace and Fern Street.

Most teenagers saw no need for the curfew, but among adults?

"The gang violence is really getting out of hand. You can't walk or talk, old people can't go around like they used to," Carl Watkins said.

"It's an excellent idea. I don't have a problem with it," Lovie Roberts said.

Meanhile, former Mayor Paula Brown who is running against incumbent Mayor Helen Thomas says the whole thing smacks of politics.

"I'm kind of glad that unfortunately it's taken them four years to do this. I don't understand why all of a sudden now 61 days before the election that they're going to pull this state of emergency business," Brown said.

For the record, we gave Mayor Thomas a chance to respond, but she didn't show up for a scheduled interview.

To be clear, people who have legitimate business during the curfew like going to and from work will be allowed to be on the street.

The State of Emergency is in effect until further notice.

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