San Jose

SJ Official Pushes for More Programs to Keep Kids Safe, Out of Trouble This Summer

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In San Jose, a spike in homicides and other crimes this past week has many worried about what happens as summer arrives and kids enjoy time off from school.

Fears of a summer crime wave have some leaders demanding help from city hall.

There have been four homicides in the city in the past week week and 20 so far this year. The worry is how quickly that number could go up if at-risk teens end up spending their summer on the streets.

"We’re approaching the time of the year where we do always notice more activity," Sgt. Christian Camarillo said. "Not necessarily homicides, but the days are definitely getting longer, which leads to more people being out and about."

With the school year ending and the lockdown over, more kids will be hitting the streets and parks. That's why San Jose Planning Commissioner Rolando Bonilla says the time to act is now.

"We have a chance to get in front of the summer crime wave with positive programs," Bonilla said. "Why not do that instead of doing what the city typically does, which is after the fact chasing the problem."

Bonilla said the city needs to quickly invest $5 million from the general fund to create more after-school programs and to keep youth centers and libraries open for longer hours so kids have somewhere to go other than the streets.

"Since I was a kid that grew up in East San Jose, I didn’t have anything and it was hard," Eduardo Buenfil said.

Buenfil and his friend, Pedro Deanda, said sport is where they found their escape.

"One of the things that kept me out of the street was soccer," Deanda said.

In fact, Buenfil is now on the United State national team for futsal, a type of indoor soccer.

"It kept me out of trouble," Buenfil said. "It gave me a scholarship."

Buenfil is holding summer youth camps to keep kids busy.

"If a kid in East San Jose aren't given opportunities then it impacts every part of San Jose as well," Bonilla said.

Bonilla said he plans to approach members of the city council to specifically ask them to invest more in the kids from East San Jose.

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