San Jose Mayor and Police Disagree on Safety Threats

By: Brian Shields - Wed, 19 Sep 2012 00:42:19 -0800

SAN JOSE (KRON) -- How safe is San Jose?  That depends on who you ask.

Mayor Chuck Reed says a recent spike in crime in the Bay Area's largest city has now ended and San Jose remains one of the safest big cities in the country.

Members of the police officer's union challenge that.  More than 100 people showed up Tuesday night at a crime prevention meeting the union held to educate people about keeping themselves safe.

"Hardworking families are having their belongings stolen," one woman tells KRON 4's J.R. Stone.  Another man said, "yes, my neighbor's car was broken into a couple of weeks ago.  They switched on the light and these people didn't run away they just looked up at them."

Police activists say the problems highlight the need to get more serious about crime prevention starting with more and better paid police officers on the street.

"We're seeing a level of violence we haven't seen in 15 years," San Jose Police Officer's Association Director Ed Conover says.  "At a time when a 71-year old woman is carjacked at knifepoint in broad daylight in front of a Target, it's clear that the security situation in San Jose has deteriorated."

Another meeting Tuesday at City Hall focused on the rising levels of homicides on track to surpass last year.  Still city officials say people need to be realistic about the challenges the city faces.

"In order to have a sustainable long-term plan, we unfortunately have to continue to confront the impact of ten years of budget shortfalls, the steadily growing costs of retirement, and an economic structure that just doesn't generate sufficient revenue to keep up even with reduced expenses," city manager Debra Figone says.

The mayor says the police officers are blowing the situation out of proportion.

"They're certainly trying to take advantage of the situation," San Jose mayor Chuck Reed says.  "That's the standard political tactics that the police unions engage in is to try to use everything to justify a pay increase.  They would like to have their ten percent back.  So would everyone else in the city."

There've been 33 homicides so far this year in San Jose.

(Copyright 2012, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)
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