SAN JOSE — In 2016, San Jose saw a 25-year high in homicides, a distinction that drew a lot of year-end attention. But most experts would agree that a different statistic is more concerning: Violent crime was up across the board, logging a 15 percent increase over last year.
Rapes were up. Robberies were up. And aggravated assaults leapt by nearly one-fifth — suggesting the increase in homicides was no aberration for America’s 10th largest city but part of a violent trend.
“The aggravated assaults are concerning. We can’t solve every homicide, but we know that with more officers, we can saturate hot-spot areas that help bring the temperature down in those areas,” police Chief Eddie Garcia said.
As is the case for the jump in homicides, which hit a year-end total of 47, there are only partial answers for the rise in overall violence. Some observers are chalking it up to an anemic number of officers that hasn’t been this low since the mid-1980s, when the population was 30 percent smaller. Others contend that San Jose has been ensnared in broader unrest that drove a national spike in violent crime, with 16 of the 20 largest cities in the country seeing increases in 2016.
The rise in violent crime threatens to overshadow what have been promising gains in the battle against property crimes, particularly burglaries, that over the past few years have been the most prominent crime trend in San Jose. Mayor Sam Liccardo cautioned the public not to lose sight of what is working.
“Of course we are seriously…
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