Is Darby curfew working?

DARBY, Pa. - September 8, 2009 After what happened Monday night there is a strong and defiant stance being taken by both the police and borough officials. If Monday night was intended to scare them away, it's not working.

"We're staying there and we're not going nowhere. Last night didn't do anything, but just made us stronger in taking over our borough," said Mayor Helen Thomas.

Monday night, police were enforcing a 9:00 p.m. curfew in Darby Borough's 3rd ward when someone fired a metal ball bearing at a patrol car using what is referred to as an arm rocket or sling shot, shattering a rear window and narrowly missing the 22-year-old female officer inside.

"Basically, I guess you could call it a war! We have a drug problem down there," said Chief Robert Smythe.

Last week, officials declared a state of emergency in the 3rd ward due to a rash of violent incidents that has made elderly residents hostages in their own homes.

"It's not safe to even go out your house," said Moses Smith.

"Just, people just crazy that's all," said Mable Wimberly.

"I hear gunfire, I hear all this stuff and I'm tired of it, most of the elderly people on this block are definitely tired of it," said Smith.

Police have tripled patrols in the ward in the wake of the violence. And Tuesday police were investigating yet another incident in which spots were fired at a car at 2nd and Greenway.

"We're about taking back the streets. We need to make that area safe and if that means we need this curfew to stay on, it's gonna stay on," said Chief Smythe.

Officials are also concerned that some people have been going on Facebook and Twitter trying to inflame the situation.

"For those of you on Twitter and on Facebook who I read today when they said a Police Officer was almost hurt and they said, 'Good!', I don't think that's right," said Council President Janice Davis.

Officials say it's bad enough officers and residents are facing violence that could mean life or death and some people are out there spreading rumors on the Internet.

"Do not listen to this false information that's going on in Darby Borough over the internet and on Facebook and Twitter and all this stuff, it's just not real."

Police are making progress. They have identified several people of interest in the rash of violence which they believe will eventually lead to a number of arrests.

You can get the latest crime statistics from the Philadelphia Police by CLICKING HERE for the force's crime data mapping site.

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