Gang Activity Linked To San Jose’s Soaring Homicide Rate

SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The homicide rate has reached a 20-year high in San Jose, and authorities point to gang activity as one reason for the soaring crime rate.

There were 20 homicides in all of 2010. Even before reaching the halfway mark of 2011, San Jose’s homicide rate had already passed that figure. Police attribute more than a dozen of the 2011 homicides in January through June to gangs.

“That’s what’s really troubling,” San Jose councilman Pete Constant reacted. “Because I believe it’s the gang-related homicides that we do have the ability to intercede and prevent if we can put enough resources on the street.”

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

Therein lies the challenge: manpower is spread thin. The violent crimes enforcement team was eliminated from the San Jose Police Department’s rank and file earlier this year and merged with another unit.

The staffing problems within SJPD only stand to get worse, with more than 100 officers expected to be laid off in late June because of San Jose’s budget problems.

“What I’m really worried about,” said Constant, himself a former police officer, “is what the further reductions we’ve just experienced as we go into our new fiscal year, that there may be times that we’re unable to react.”

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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