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San Jose Officers Report Drop In Violent Crime Despite Homicide Surge

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San Jose Police on the scene of a fatal shooting. (CBS)

San Jose Police on the scene of a fatal shooting. (CBS)

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SAN JOSE (CBS SF) – Violent crime in San Jose fell by more than 10 percent during the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2012, although homicides rose by 33 percent, police reported Wednesday.

Reported robberies in San Jose, totaling 526 incidents, dropped by 40 percent from January and June while aggravated assaults came to 899, a 10 percent drop, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.

Rapes reported to police totaled 125, a 3 percent decline, Dwyer said.

The number of people murdered in San Jose rose by one-third to 24 as of the end of June, Dwyer said.

The city, however, has recorded four additional homicides since then that were not included in the figures.

Overall, violent crimes for the six months came to 1,574, or 10.6 percent fewer than for those months last year.

The greatest percentage decline was in gang-related violent crime, down almost 16 percent with seven gang-related homicides compared to 10 last year, Dwyer said.

“It’s a difficult question to answer. Why are there more homicides, but less gang-related homicides?” Dwyer said. “We don’t necessarily have an answer for that, but it’s something we can take a look at towards the end of the year and see if any other trends independent of gang-related do emerge.”

Gang-tied robberies fell to 15, a 40 percent decline, and aggravated assaults and simple assaults each fell by 9.5 percent, Dwyer said.

But some residents in San Jose are still concerned about crime, including Maronita Isaac, who works in the downtown area.

“I really believe there is a lot of gang initiation and people that are really out to get you and see what you have to offer,” she said. “That’s really scary.”

Since the start of the department’s Violent Crime Reduction Plan, launched June 20 and specifically targeting street gangs, police have made 88 gang-related felony arrests and 62 gang-related misdemeanor arrests, Dwyer said.

Police also confiscated 221 firearms across the city as evidence between January and June, Dwyer said.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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