SAN JOSE (KRON) — Violent crime is trending upward in what not that long ago was consistently recognized as the safest big city in America.

New numbers released by police show violent crime was up 6 percent in 2018 in San Jose, driven by a 19 percent increase in robberies and a 2 percent increase in rapes.

“Obviously, no chief is happy when the crime rate goes up like that. We need to keep our eye on the ball and continue to rebuild,” said Eddie Garcia, San Jose Police Chief.

Chief Garcia says those numbers reflect a department still struggling to rebuild after it was decimated by an exodus of officers resulting from pension reform and austerity measures.

“The reality of it is that ten years ago, we were up to 1,400 officers and now we are about 300 short of that,” said Garcia.

Fewer officers may also be to blame for slower response times according to a city audit. More officers on the street would help but the numbers show another trend, says the chief.

“The issue we need to look at is the aggravated assaults with weapons that are occurring, that’s the true measure of the violence that is trending up in the county,” said the police chief.

Trending down on the other hand are homicides. There were five fewer last year than the year before. and going forward.

“Were going to have to be more strategic and more surgical about how we deploy officers,” said Garcia. “And at the same time make people feel they are not being ignored, they should still see a cop drive up and down their street once in a while.”

There is some evidence that having more cops on the street doesn’t necessarily mean less crime but the chief says he thinks deploying more officers to known hot spots would make a difference but says he simply doesn’t have the resources to do that on a regular basis.