Property crime rates in San Jose are on the decline despite a dwindling police force, according to the department's chief.
Burglaries dropped from 5,167 in 2014 to 4,896 in 2015, Chief Eddie Garcia said. That decrease, however, comes at a cost to an exhausted police department.
“It’s a rough time right now,” Garcia said.
San Jose police officers arrested four suspected burglars in the Evergreen neighborhood this week.
“It’s really shocking,” resident Sashi Yukhi said. “We think the neighborhood is very good. When something like this happens, it’s really scary.”
The burglars are accused of knocking down doors and breaking windows to gain entrance to homes. But, thanks to a speedy response by the San Jose Police Department, they soon ended up facedown on a creekbed nearby.
"We are very happy," Yukhi said.
Although glad, the victims' neighbors were surprised that officers nabbed the suspects so quickly.
"I really appreciate their hard work," resident Ahmer Bhatty said. "It's not easy to be called and actually catch the people."
Sources told NBC Bay Area that the officers who made the arrests were working overtime or putting in hours on their days off.
And Garcia isn’t sugarcoating the situation: His officers are tired and overworked, he said.
They’re also mentally fatigued after hearing repeated reports of officers being killed in the line of duty across the country.
“They’re under a tremendous amount of stress,” Garcia said. “It’s a very tired police department, but they’ve been operating, doing so well for a long time with so little.”
The department, which is chronically understaffed, needs to fill 240 shifts per week. Right now, all of that is filled by officers working overtime.
“They’re working a lot of hours and they’re still answering the call, so they’re dealing with it,” Garcia said.
According to Garcia, however, one of the key ways to attract more applicants is for voters to invalidate the Measure B pension reform at the ballot boxes this November. Otherwise, he fears, more officers will head for better opportunities in other cities.