SJPD Pulling Truancy Officers to Help Patrol Almaden Valley For Burglars

The San Jose Police Department is assigning truancy officers to help patrol the Almaden Valley as burglaries continue to plague the neighborhood.

Police said burglaries are up nearly 250 percent in the Almaden Valley compared to the same time last year. Police report 82 burglaries in South San Jose in January, compared to 56 robberies in December and 57 robberies in November.

"They'll be out in Almaden Valley and as spikes occur throughout the city we will send them out to put out those fires," Assistant Police Chief Eddie Garcia said of the truancy officers.

Almaden Valley residents have also hired their own private security to patrol the streets, which has not stopped burglars.

"We know it's a more affluent area," Almaden Valley-resident Kent Yamada said. "So we know we're a little more at risk."

Resident Madeline Chiavetta said having your home broken into is unsettling.

"It's such an invasion of privacy," she said. "How could they do that?"

Chiavetta was one of hundreds of residents to attend a meeting late Wednesday at Bret Harte Middle School to discuss the police department's decision.

The decision to pull the officers and have them focus on one neighborhood has communities in other parts of the city concerned.

Residents in East San Jose, where the department's Truancy Abatement Burglary Suppression center is located, want the truancy officers to stay put in their neighborhood. Neighbors said the area also has seen its share of burglaries.

"It's not possible having those officers going to South San Jose, and take them out of the program," said Aaron Resendez, a community activist.

Truancy Officer Lihn Luu was alone Wednesday at the Truancy Abatement Center. He usually has three other partners bringing in kids who skipped school, but they were sent to the Almaden Valley.

"The fact that staffing levels are what they are does not mean we don't have a job to do," Garcia said. "And there's a lot of work the men and women are doing for the entire City of San Jose under some extraordinary circumstances."

Mayor Sam Liccardo also attended Wednesday's meeting and said he is working on establishing a security camera registry for police can quickly find video cameras that might catch key evidence.

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