SAN JOSE (KCBS) — The Independent Police Auditor in San Jose said she has little doubt that the city’s rising crime and homicide rate is because of a cut in police staffing.

Judge LaDoris Cordell called it more than just a coincidence that the city marked its 44th homicide of the year on Tuesday, when an 18-year-old man was killed near Hillsdale and Cherry. The number of homicides is the highest in more than two decades, exceeded only by 53 murders in 1991.

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According to a recent memo to Mayor Chuck Reed and the City Council from outgoing chief Chris Moore, the police force has dropped below 600 patrol officers in a city of nearly one million people.

KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:

San Jose Police Spokesman Albert Morales said the spike in crime can’t be attributed to police layoffs alone.

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“There are a number of factors that go into it and there’s no way to pinpoint what really contributes to the rise,” Morales said.

Cordell said criminals are communicating through new mediums, including their own websites.

“Believe me, if you are intent upon burglarizing, breaking into cars or even shooting people and you know that there aren’t going to be the number of police officers out there that there used to be, you become emboldened. You become brazen,” she said.

Reed has repeatedly said that he doesn’t believe that the link between the homicide rate increase and the reduction in the police force is the main factor.

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