A man was shot on Wednesday on Roundtable Drive, but by the time police arrived he and the perpetrators had fled the scene. The SJPD later reported that the victim’s friends dropped him off in the emergency room of a nearby hospital. Though police are investigating the shooting, they have yet to identify the victim or say what the motive was. Police have also not indicated whether the incident was gang-related or not.
The shooting was the latest in a series of violent incidents that has rocked San Jose since the New Year. There have already been nine homicides in the city this January, compared to just 21 for all of 2010. In November, the Merc bemoaned the fact that San Jose had dropped from the safest big city in the United States, a position it held for four years, to the position of fourth safest city in the country. While there are no plans for a “Law and Order: San Jose” yet, evidence that the spike in violence is gaining acceptance can be found in the Merc’s headline for Wednesday’s shooting: “Another day, another shooting.” Shootings seem to be en route to becoming an accepted norm in the city.
While residents and city officials hold meetings to discuss the problem and what to do about it, the SJPD has its own position evident on the home page of its Protect San Jose blog. It features a chart showing the decline in the number of sworn officers between 1998 and June 2010, with the sharpest drops between 2009 and then.
A blog post there links the uptick in violence to the elimination of the VCET gang task force last year because of budget cuts. “With homicides and gang violence on the rise and the streets of San Jose becoming more like the streets of Oakland, we can only wonder if the elimination of VCET by Mayor Chuck Reed’s administration was more than a little short sighted,” they write.