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San Jose Public Safety and increasing Crime Rate

An increase in crime rate is a phenomenon that is afflicting numerous communities in our region. San Francisco and Oakland are 2 exceptions of larger cities in our region, both experiencing a reduction in crime rates.  The fact that each of these cities have more Officers per capita than San Jose cannot be ignored; San Jose has less than 1 Officer per 1,000 residents, while Oakland has over 1.75 and San Francisco over 2.5 per 1,000 residents. I believe we must continue to bolster our Police Force, attracting the best Officers, young recruits as well as seasoned lateral transfers, and arm them with cutting edge technology to be the most efficient and effective Municipal Law Enforcement Agency in the Country.

Mayor Chuck Reed’s approach to our Public Safety harmed our Police Department, which was ruled by the Court to be unconstitutional in pertinent part, had an adverse impact on the safety of our Citizens. His pension reforms resulted on our Department losing many good, seasoned Officers to lateral transfers, and weakened our ability to attract and maintain recruits. The pension reform imposed by him was challenged by city employees who argued that it violated their constitutionally-protected contract with the city. The courts agreed with the city employees and in December 2013 several provisions of Measure B were struck down as unconstitutional. When city employees in San Jose sign an employment contract with the city, in addition to their salary and other benefits, part of their compensation is earning a defined benefit pension. Since pension benefits are a contractual right and something to which employees contribute, it is also considered a “vested” right.

I do not support Chuck Reed’s Statewide pension reform efforts.

I also firmly believe we must take a holistic approach to this problem of increasing crime rate. This includes improving the relationship between Police and the community. Starting with youth programs that have a lifelong influence over an individual/s perception. I have had many discussions with High School Students in San Jose. I have asked, “what is your initial emotion when you see a cop?” The most common answer is fear, being scared or nervous. This can change.

We currently spend over $112, 000 per year for every youth who is incarcerated. We could spend a fraction of this, developing programs, with more Officers, who have direct Community Relations… a preventative approach. A collaborative approach, involving Police, Parks and Recreation, and Private Businesses in the Community must be considered.

We must break the cycle that leads to a life of a revolving door to jail. We can do this. We have the Best and Brightest minds in OUR City!