San Jose police today rebuffed a state assemblywoman’s request that the department seek the assistance of the California Highway Patrol to respond to a recent surge in murders in the city.
Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose, sent a letter to acting San Jose police Chief Larry Esquivel earlier today saying CHP officers would help deter violence in the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.
Campos sent the letter following five recent murders in San Jose, the latest of which came on Friday night when a 35-year-old man was fatally stabbed in a carport in west San Jose. The homicide was the city’s 21st of 2013.
“With summer just getting underway, I am concerned that last week signals the beginning of what could be San Jose’s most violent summer in years, as homicides and gang violence are becoming commonplace in many of our city’s neighborhoods,” Campos wrote.
Campos asked that Esquivel “strongly consider notifying the Chief of the California Highway Patrol that the current rise in violent crime has placed a significant strain on the San Jose Police Department’s already limited resources.”
But the Police Department issued a statement this afternoon in response to the assemblywoman’s letter saying they “have no immediate plans to reach out to other law enforcement agencies for assistance.”
Police officials said, “SJPD currently has the capability to deploy additional resources to address the increased level of violence,” noting that about 40 additional officers from specialized units in the department were deployed over the past weekend.
They cited an incident from Saturday in which investigative officers saw a car full of suspected gang members driving through a known rival gang neighborhood at Story Road and Lucretia Avenue.
Officers stopped the vehicle, found a loaded and stolen pistol and arrested the alleged gang members, police said.
“The excellent police work done by these officers likely prevented a violent gang-related shooting,” the department said in the statement. “The San Jose Police Department is always balancing staffing levels with crime trends and other community needs.”
Campos made a similar request to then-police Chief Chris Moore last year after another rash of homicides but was similarly denied.
Campos said Moore “insisted they had crime under control, yet San Jose went on to record its highest homicide rate in twenty years.”
She noted, “After last week’s homicides, our city is currently on pace to eclipse last year’s (homicide) total.”
No one has been arrested in connection with any of the string of five murders, which began a week ago Sunday.
Dan McMenamin/Jeff Burbank, Bay City News