San Jose residents express concern over recent crime surge in Willow Glen neighborhood

- San Jose city leaders and the police chief addressed residents’s concerns after a rash of crimes in the Willow Glen neighborhood at a public safety meeting Thursday night. 

For the second time, a burglar has broken into Gunther's Restaurant in Willow Glen. Surveillance footage captures him rummaging through cabinets and the cash register early Monday morning with a hammer in tow. 

“I’m scared, angry,” said Gunther’s Owner Steve Meyberg. “It's also become a common place thing around here for crime to happen.”

The break-in is the latest in a string of crimes in Willow Glen. Earlier this month, KTVU reported on a home invasion, a car stolen right from a driveway and an assault.

San Jose Councilwoman Dev Davis hosted the town hall meeting.

“I completely understand where everyone is coming from that you have deep concerns and fears regarding the safety of our community,” said Davis. 

Police said, the majority of the recent crimes were committed by two groups comprised of nine juveniles and one adult who know each other. They're linked to 95 separate incidents. One suspect who is just 14 years old is connected to eight residential burglaries.

“These criminals are throughout the city,” said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia. “They are targeting all parts of the city. Willow Glen is one of the areas they've hit.”

The Chief said in light of these crimes, officers will now respond to all alarm calls. Before officers would only respond to calls if they're verified. The department is also establishing a street crimes team in October and a dedicated burglary unit next month.

"100 burglaries aren't committed by 100 different people so my hope is being proactive and taking these individuals off the street before they even have an opportunity to commit a crime is what our ultimate goal is,” said Chief Garcia. 

“The punishment on crime, people aren't scared,” said Meyberg. “There's not enough police officers to enforce the laws and the laws that are there are becoming really soft.”

The Chief said he's working with Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen on how to keep juveniles in custody longer. In the meantime, Meyberg said he plans to patrol his own street at night.

“I’m taking it upon myself to come around here at night and different times of the day,” said Meyberg. “We have crime during broad daylight. I'm afraid we are going to see a lot more vigilantism if this doesn't get solved.”

At Thursday’s meeting, the chief addressed staffing. Two years ago, he said the department had 900 officers. Right now, 1,100 officers cover a city of a million people. He said the department is in the process of rebuilding and it will take time.
 

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