San Jose Grapples with Spike in Violent, Juvenile Crimes

San Jose saw a marked increase in violent crimes in 2017, according to preliminary data that the city’s police department expects to finalize later this month.

Authorities say the city of a million-plus people was on pace for a 7.2 percent uptick in overall violent offenses, which include homicides, rapes, robberies and assaults, but perhaps the most troubling statistic was an alarming 42 percent spike in crimes committed by juveniles.

San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia told San Jose Inside last month that he doesn’t yet know what’s driving the surge in juvenile crime, but it doesn’t appear to be gang related.

According to the Mercury News, other major Bay Area cities, namely Oakland and San Francisco, saw a decline in violent crime rates. But other local municipalities—Fremont, Palo Alto, Berkeley and Hayward—each reported a jump from 2016, when San Jose recorded a 14.3 percent increase.

That puts San Jose on pace with Los Angeles, another city that’s grappling with a violent crime trend well ahead of the national 4 percent increase cited by the FBI.

It should be noted, however, that the recent uptick in violent offenses follows a dramatic decades-long drop in serious crimes in the U.S. Per the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics, the national violent crime rate has fallen by more than half since the 1990s.

Juvenile arrests have followed a similar pattern both nationwide and in California, which saw a sharp decline in youth detentions over the past decade, according to recently published data from the Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice.

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 8.38.19 AMChief Garcia has been lauded by some as a champion of progressive policing, but he told San Jose Inside that he’s worried some criminal justice reforms have gone too far. Lighter sentencing and the campaign to slash pretrial detention have put violent offenders back on the streets, he said.

Local police have been struggling to adapt to statewide reforms such as Proposition 47, the 2014 ballot measure that downgraded certain drug and theft crimes to misdemeanors; Proposition 57, which slashed the California prison population; and Proposition 64, which legalized adult-use cannabis.

Last month, Garcia pushed back against new regional guidelines that raised the threshold to jail suspects. In a move to decrease the number of people locked up for minor offenses, Santa Clara County upped the amount arrest warrants must be to jail someone from $5,000 to $15,000. Though violent misdemeanors and gun-related crimes are exempt from the policy, Garcia said the policy undermines his officers’ discretion.

The county’s new arrest threshold is part of a multi-faceted reform effort that includes moving away from for-profit bail bonds toward more pretrial community supervision. What Garcia said he would like to see more of, however, is rehabilitation for people who are caught up in the criminal justice system.

“That’s something we’re going to have to grapple with as a society moving forward,” he told San Jose Inside. “You can’t keep pushing the problem back on the community and local law enforcement.”

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Newspaper. Email tips to [email protected] or follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.

17 Comments

  1. “San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia told San Jose Inside last month that he doesn’t yet know what’s driving the surge in juvenile crime, but it doesn’t appear to be gang related.”

    The chief doesn’t know what it is but he knows what it isn’t. Interesting. I suppose we citizens are left to guess at who’s committing the violence. Junk-food addled gamers? Savage skateboarders? Locker room talk-fueled jocks? Hormone overdosed trans-teens?

    Eddie Garcia, a proven liar* when it comes to gang crime statistics, still has the chutzpah to absolve from the juvenile violence spike the one group that has for decades dominated the category; the one group that terrorizes neighborhoods; the one group whose lawbreaking is known to be as politically-charged as is that of illegal aliens. He must think us all fools, as does the mayor who, to the great embarrassment of the honest and proud officers of the police department, pulls the little man’s strings.

    Isn’t it transparently obvious that in “Transparent San Jose” our city leaders care far more about misleading us than they do about providing the information we need to protect ourselves and make informed decisions about the policies of OUR city and police department? In reality, the only thing transparent about this city’s leaders is their commitment to reporting the continued success of their failed policies. Gang crime: “on the wane” — despite the blood in the streets. Illegal aliens: “valuable additions” — despite their making our hospital waiting rooms and large parts of the city look like Tijuana. Hispanic academic performance: “never better” — because it has never gotten better despite filling the classrooms with Hispanic teachers and dumbing down the curriculum.

    Give Fast Eddie another five years with the crime stats and he’ll make gang-bangers look so peaceable that neighborhood groups will be clamoring for Norteños and Sureños to call their own.

    *https://www.nbcbayarea.com/investigations/San-Jose-Police-Department-Gang-Stats-Misleading–230888141.html

    • Finfan, I get you don’t like Garcia and you don’t like sanctuary city stuff. I’m okay with Garcia but don’t like the sanctuary city stuff. SO, lets take that out of the conversation and talk about up tick in violence. What are the real issues here?

      -I say it is the politicians implementing new laws that are soft on crime. And it is also the stupid citizens that vote for the politicians and the laws.

      -It is the judicial process that doesn’t hold criminals accountable.

      -Police are no longer proactive (they are reactive). A new era in policing or perhaps the risk/reward just isn’t there. (The reward being they got to lock someone up and take them off the street)

      -The way of thinking is that no person under 18 years old should be held at juvenile hall. They are released back into society to continue to commit crimes.

      Back to Garcia for one second..I prefer this quote.

      “The pendulum has swung way too far,” Garcia said. “There has to be a balance between safety and the rehabilitation of the offender. Don’t put it on the backs of law enforcement and the community.”

      Oh the link didn’t work

      • The link was pasted from the address bar… unknown problem. Google this for the piece:

        nbc bay area + San Jose Police Department Gang Stats Misleading

    • I agree. It is only going to get worse inviting the MS13 is a great start in that direction. We are a sanctuary city and state. We are here to encourage themes desirables to come to our city and stay we. Where I SD the we common sense folks.

      Enjoy it while it lasts because it is going to get ugly

  2. I don’t get your chart looks like crime is going down!

    Just can’t wait to see what happens now that half the state will be smoking pot on a daily basis. Our local crime watch is showing me picture of people breaking into cars and houses nightly now.

    Cops don’t even show up anymore.

  3. > San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia told San Jose Inside last month that he doesn’t yet know what’s driving the surge in juvenile crime, but it doesn’t appear to be gang related.

    DUH!!!!!

    Proposition 47, just for starters.

  4. Jennifer – Explain how local police are “struggling to adapt to state reforms like Prop 64”,it only became legal to buy recreational marijuana yesterday ? What exactly does a 42% increase in the arrest of juveniles really indicate ? Does it mean that juveniles committed 42% more crimes,or that 42% more juveniles are being arrested for crimes that have been committed ? Are there any mitigating factors that would account for such a sudden large increase ? A change in law enforcement techniques or priorities ? A new method of collecting & recording these statistics ? What sort of crimes are they committing & which crimes show the greatest increase in the last year ? Are these predominately crimes against people or property ? Does this number include possible crimes reported by school authorities such as bullying,fighting,vandalism,theft,drugs,etc. committed on campus ? How many of these arrests led to prosecutions ? How many of those prosecuted were convicted ? How many of those convicted ended up on Probation ? Diversion ? Community Service ? Incarcerated ? Let’s make sure that someone hasn’t moved a decimal point before we get too excited about this upsetting news. In the unlikely event that juveniles actually committed 42% more crimes last year that the year before,the Governor should be asked to send in the National Guard to restore law & order amongst our children !!!

    • Well done Waxhead, but your asking a millennial to think like Lois Lane.

      Who? What? Where? When? And Why? And statistics? That’s old school journalism stuff, well beyond what passes for journalism in today’s colleges. Social justice, sexism, racism, white guilt, police brutality with no qualifications is what readers must hear.

      Never mind most high school grads in Kalifiornia only read at a 3rd grade level and can’t get a job anyway!

    • The task should be split in parts: 1st – throw all illegals over the border and secure the border. Make e-verify mandatory on federal level. Possessing marijuana is a federal offense, stupid CA law should be strike down. Bring back “three strikes rule” for felons. 2nd amendment rights in CA should be restored for abiding citizens. For criminals – Incarceration for felons and Community Service for misdemeanors. No paroles for violent crimes. CA death row should be cleared up by what is supposed to be done. LAW and Order comes 1st.

    • > Blah blah blah . . . What sort of crimes are they committing & which crimes show the greatest increase in the last year ? . . . blah blah blah . . .

      Lots of questions, Waxy.

      I would have thought that someone with a huge brain and at the top of the progressive would have been full of answers.

      As long as you are gazing at your navel and asking yourself the really deep questions, here are a couple more you can address:

      1. What is the meaning of life?
      2. Do atheists go to atheist heaven?
      3. Where does food come from?
      4. Why is there so much starvation when socialists run things?

      Ball’s in your court, Waxy. This is your chance to REALLY dazzle us.

  5. Politicians in San Jose (And Garcia is a politicians, don’t forget that) are in over their heads. They’ve made a pact with the devil (criminals and their families) and the general public is going to suffer in the short term. The state will suffer in the long term as people and businesses continue to leave for safer and greener pastures.

  6. Lets keep our voices sane and limited to the issues at hand here. It is definitely softer laws, especially the juvenile law, that insists treating anyone below 18 as a juvenile. There have been numerous instances where a 16 or 17 year old was arrested for a far more serious crime than a petty thief who happened to be an adult. It also has to do with our failure as a society to provide youth jobs, good education, and general direction in life. I don’t attribute the current state to failure on the part of policing.

    • Gangs have been aware for two decades or more that using juveniles to commit violent crimes is in the gangs’ interest because of the patty cake treatment and sentencing given to juveniles versus adults. Want a rival gang member popped? Get one of your juvie recruits to do it.

  7. Maybe time to find a new police chief. Obviously the current chief is baffled and confused. Maybe putting him in a patrol car and driving our gang infested streets will give him a clue to the spike in crimes. Problem solved!

  8. GEE I WONDER WHY

    Why not. Our society encourages that behavior. Increase in gas prices with out voter approval, declaring Sanctuary Cities and States, letting illegals go after they plead down from a felony to a a misdemeanor just to re-offend, we show disrespect to authority including the federal governments and their laws, to our law enforcement officers. And teachers…
    It is all ok. Give the kids a few more years and everyone had better pack the good ole “smith and wesson”

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