San Jose has experienced a recent spike in violent crime, and now its mobilizing its police on a gang intervention mission to keep the violence from spiraling any further.
Over the past week there have been seven homicides in San Jose, including several that appear to be gang-related,” wrote Debra Figone in a memo to the City Council and Mayor outlining the strategy. “The Police Department currently is fully engaged in gang intervention and enforcement activity in concert with the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force and with our many partners in law enforcement and in our community.”
Sparking the crackdown on crime is a string of seven murders in just ten days, some occurring in super markets or in front of drug stores.
Two women gathered in front of a neighborhood Safeway to protest a lack of protection offered by a city that has laid-off police and public safety employees in recent years. The night before, a man died as a result of stab wounds while on the ground inside of Safeway.
The women were connected by nothing more than their anger over the violence and fear. According to news reports, the pair found each other and connected with the help of the San Jose Police Officers Association.
In Figone’s letter, she described the city’s efforts as “a nationwide model for combating gang violence.”
She went on to say that additional overtime has been authorized for members of the police department on related task forces, and the Chief has made combatting this violence a top priority.
This increased attention is not without its costs. With still-tight budgets, the city is going to have to reduce service levels in other areas offered by the police department. For that, Figone is calling for the help of the community.
“We continue to ask our community to be engaged work with their neighbors to monitor suspicious activity, help each, learn more how to prevent crime, and call the Police Department’s non-emergency line to provide information that can be critical to catching offenders.”