At 47 so far, San Jose headed for most homicides in 25 years

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As the year comes to an end, it's been an especially deadly one in the City of San Jose with 47 homicides. It’s the highest number in 25 years.

It’s hard to miss the blue balloons, flowers and candles on a street light in West San Jose. A picture of the victim is at the memorial. He was 18 years gunned down in a suspected gang-related shooting. The memorial caught the attention of San Jose native Chuck Stevens.

“It’s sad,” said Stevens. “It tells me there are tragedies happening in my neighborhood.”
It’s not the only tragedy as the City of San Jose grapples with 47 homicides this year, the most since 1991.

“Domestic violence was up this year, homeless on homeless was up and gang violence was up as well,” said San Jose City Council Member Johnny Khamis.

Many killings involved relatives. Notably, a 22-year-old son was charged with killing his parents at their Evergreen home and most recently, on Christmas Eve, a 38-year-old man was arrested for stabbing his wife to death in downtown. Colsaria Henderson is with Next Door Solutions.

“Unfortunately I’m not exactly surprised our homicide rates surrounding domestic violence has been increasing over the years,” said Henderson.

She said the increase calls attention to the need for more resources for victims.
“In Santa Clara County, we only have just over 60 confidential domestic violence beds where other counties around us have well over 100,” said Henderson.

San Jose City Councilmember Johnny Khamis said, in comparison to other big cities the Bay Area, San Jose with a population of one million people is a safe city.

The city's focus is on gang prevention adding more than $1 million to a dedicated task force. When it comes to police staffing, he’s also optimistic next year won't be as deadly.

“We think this is an anomaly,” said Khamis. “We hope that next year we won't go down this path. We hope some of these programs will kick in and get kids interested in more than gangs.”

Khamis said the next police academy looks promising as the force is on target to graduate 36 police officers in March.