San Jose Sees Spike in Violent Crimes

Many attribute recent crime spree to a gang war.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Frustration is growing in San Jose. A state legislator is calling for the SJ police chief to admit the force doesn't have the resources to combat crime, in the wake of the 6th homicide in the past eight days. (Published Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012)

    It has been a bloody summer for San Jose and the violence is continuing, with the city logging its 29th murder on Monday night.    

    Since the beginning of this month, six people have been shot or stabbed to death in San Jose.

    Crime Spree Sparks Controversy in San Jose

    [BAY] Crime Spree Sparks Controversy in San Jose
    It has been a bloody summer for San Jose and the violence is continuing, with the city logging 30 murders so far in 2012. (Published Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012)

    On Tuesday, San Jose Assemblymember Nora Campos wrote a letter to Police Chief Chris Moore where she asked the chief to publicly acknowledge that his officers are spread too thin, which Campos said would trigger the CHP to come in an assist.   

    "No denying we've had these incidents occur with close proximity" time-wise, San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said.

    Aug. 13 was particularly violent, with three killed in three separate incidents, including a homeless woman who was stabbed by someone wielding a sword near West San Carlos Street and Meridian Avenue.

    Earlier that day, around 4 p.m., Victor Mendoza, 21, was found suffering from a gunshot wound in the 2300 block of Denair Avenue. He died  two days later at a hospital.

    Also killed on Aug. 13 was 38-year-old Martin Chacon, who was  found shot in his car on Charles Street near Oakland Road that afternoon.   

    On Monday, there were two shootings -- one ending in death. The  murder victim, a 24-year-old man, died at a hospital after being shot in the  1900 block of Poco Way around 6:40 p.m. Police believe that shooting was  gang-related.   

    The second shooting happened around 7:15 p.m. when a 20-year-old  was shot near North Jackson and Luz avenues. That victim is expected to survive.    

    Over the weekend, a 52-year-old San Jose man was found dead in a parked car early Sunday morning in the 3000 block of Van Sansul Avenue.   

    Later Sunday night, a man in his 30s was critically injured in a shooting in the 1600 block of East San Antonio Street. Police said he  remained hospitalized as of this morning.

    A separate shooting on Saturday afternoon in the 200 block of San  Jose Avenue injured a 15-year-old boy.

    Monday's killing marked San Jose's 29th homicide of the year. At  this time last year, there had been 27 homicides, San Jose police Officer Jose Garcia said. Thirty-nine people were murdered altogether in 2011.
        Garcia said this year's rate is comparable to last year's, but  that "It's concerning to us. We'd like to see no homicides."
        In previous years, total killings reached only 20 in 2010 and 28  in 2009, according to police records.
        Garcia noted that San Jose is considered a major city with a relatively low homicide rate.
        Several of the slayings over the past few weeks are being investigated as possibly gang-related. He said the Police Department works  closely with the Mayor's Gang Prevention Task Force, which provides outreach  to quell gang-related violence.
        Single mom and San Jose native Carrie Greco, who has two  elementary school children in the San Jose Unified School District, said the  increase in slayings worries her.
        She has gotten involved with the local nonprofit People Acting in  Community Together, or PACT, which has raised money for families affected by  street violence and pushed schools to provide counseling for children.
        "It's an emotional thing for me," Greco said. "And my kids, they  get sad."
        She sees violence on the streets affecting the education system  and says she is working to make sure there are resources -- such as counseling, activities or support groups -- for youth before they get  involved in dangerous gangs.
        "Shootings are one of my biggest fears, especially gangs," said  the mother of two boys. "I've always felt those who veered to gangs, they  need support."
        San Jose saw a spike in violence in 1997, when with 43 murders  occurred. The city's population at that time was 840,529, compared to 971,372  early this year, according to city planning and police figures.