San Jose prides itself on being one of the safest cities in the nation, but that’s a reputation that is fading rapidly. There were just 21 homicides in the city in 2010. In 2011, there have been seven (according to ABC) or nine (according to KTVU). Regardless, the number is unacceptable, considering that it is still January.
Residents worried about the sudden spike in violence, gathered at the Santee Neighborhood Action Center on Monday night for an emergency meeting with Deputy Mayor Madison Nguyen and Assistant Police Chief Diane Urban. Participants at the meeting included representatives of the Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force, the Tully-Senter, Lanai-Cunningham, West Evergreen and Alma neighborhood associations, the Sacred Heart Community Service, Catholic Charities, and the Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative.
Community activists, such as Pastor Sonny Lara, blamed the problem on budget cuts. This was echoed by Urban, who described the challenges facing the SJPD: “Certainly we’re concerned about diminishing resources and competing priorities.” She called on the public to help the police combat violent crime, saying, “There was never more of a time than right now, that we need to work together as partners to combat this.” This sentiment was shared by Nguyen, who called the meeting, “a call to action.”