As of August 1, 2016, there were 12 homicides in Chester, according to police chief James Nolan. The same number holds for 2015. So far in 2017, there have been 20 homicides.

“It seems people have more of a determination to shoot each other, whether it’s more access to weaponry, or less conscience,” he said.

Violent crime has risen 11 percent nationwide, after declining for decades — but Chester’s history is unique.

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