San Jose is stepping up its fight against gun violence with a new program targeting "priority gun offenders."
During Gun Violence Prevention week, the San Jose Police Department and the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office on Friday announced a new partnership that targets violent armed criminals.
Such criminals are those who present a significant danger to public safety due to their illegal possession of a firearm, repeated gun crimes and their involvement in a gun-related aggravated assault, officials said.
San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said the program already has shown some success.
"Illegally possessed or illegally manufactured firearms, used by prolific criminals drive gun violence in our community," Garcia said in a statement. "Focusing our resources on these offenders and illegal guns will save lives and reduce gun violence. Early signs of success with the program are a testament to the close collaboration with our District Attorney’s Office."
Under the new program, San Jose officers have seized high-powered assault rifles and illegal manufactured "ghost guns" and have made multiple gun crime arrests.
DA Jeff Rosen could not emphasize enough the need and urgency for such a program.
"We will not wait until there are bodies in our streets. We are not waiting until an innocent person is caught in a crossfire," Rosen said in a statement. "The San Jose Police Department and my office are using our combined forces to do everything we possibly can to stop shootings before they happen."
The program coordinates investigative efforts of police detectives and DA analysts from the Crime Strategies Unit to identify priority gun offenders. SJPD Special Operations teams are tasked with locating and arresting armed suspects at large or those likely to commit violence in San Jose.
There were 4,561 violent crimes, including 34 homicides, in San Jose in 2019, a 2.6% jump from 2018, according to SJPD records. It was not immediately clear how many of those involved guns.