San Jose police are taking too long to respond to calls; here’s why

Bay Area

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — How often do we expect the police to show up soon after we’ve called them for help?

In San Jose, some residents say they don’t bother calling the police department for certain incidents because by the time police arrive, it may be too late. 

Mariscos Costa Alegre Restaurant, located in San Jose’s Luna Park neighborhood, has had multiple incidents over the last year.

Twice vandals broke into the restaurant, cars were broken into, the cash register was stolen, and workers have had to deal with people refusing to leave the establishment. 

The owner, Marco Hernandez tells KRON4 News that unfortunately these types of incidents are common in the neighborhood. 

Translation: Spanish to English

“Practically my neighbor back here had his truck stolen, down here we have the AutoZone, they also got broken into. The place in front has also been broken into, several places here in the area have lost several things,” said Hernandez.

“That’s why I decided it’s better to put my fence.”

Last summer, there was one incident where individuals fired their guns during an altercation and upon calling police, arrived at the restaurant within minutes. 

But Hernandez says most of the time officers were slow to respond to his 911 calls. 

Translation: Spanish to English

“I don’t know if they have few or a lot of people that they much rather use for emergencies which makes them not to do that type of rounds,” said Hernandez. 

“If it’s something minor, I avoid them [police].”

According to the latest Annual Report of City Services for the city of San Jose, the San Jose Police Department once again fell short of meeting its own response time goals. 

SJPD’s response times for Priority 1 calls, which are usually for shootings, murders, or major felony incidents — took on average 7 minutes. 

The department’s goal is to get Priority 1 calls within 6 minutes, a target SJPD has not hit since 2010. 

In comparison, Priority 2 calls, which involve injury, property damage, or other incidents where the suspect is still on scene, took SJPD much longer to respond. 

Last year, officers took on average  21 minutes to respond to Priority 2 calls — more than double the department’s goal of 11 minutes. 

Courtesy: City of San Jose

“It’s unfortunate that we were not able to meet this expectation but we’re doing the very best that we can,” said Sergeant Christian Camarillo, San Jose Public Information Officer. 

“Obviously we’re facing a lot of different factors here in San Jose.”

Camarillo tells KRON4 News the delayed response times are in part due to many ongoing challenges the department is facing, including the lack of officers it needs to patrol the city. 

In addition, Camarillo says the department is also faced with filling vacant roles as nearly 20 individuals are set to retire this month. 

“At one point in San Jose we had 1,400 police officers, right now we’re hovering at about 1,150,” said Camarillo.

“It’s not hard to figure out what’s going in, you have a population rising and you have a police force that’s not keeping up with that growth,” Camarillo added. 

“We’re trying the very best that we can, we do have a full on recruiting, we’ve had it for several years and we’re getting people here as quickly as we can.” 

But like many others, Hernandez has taken it upon himself to protect his business and his customers by spending more than $14,000 on a metal fence that surrounds the entire property. 

Translation: Spanish to English

“I think it was some more drastic measures that I took, instead of totally closing, and it is much better, many problems I have avoided with the fence,” said Hernandez. 

“It is a great cost for me because I did not expect that this COVID thing would also force us to close and only do to-go orders.”

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