SAN JOSE, Calif. - It was a significant achievement, marked with a simple commendation from the city council. San Jose police solved every homicide that occurred last year.
"For large cities it's very unusual," said Officer Steve Aponte with the police department.
A total of thirty-six homicides were solved, achieving a 100% clearance rate, a feat that is quite exceptional. Nationally, only about 51% of homicide cases are solved.
"I think it's very telling not only of the expertise of our department investigators but also the partnership that we have with our community members who really do come forward and provide us with information and footage," said Aponte.
They believe that building trust with the public and encouraging them to feel comfortable coming forward has played a crucial role in this success.
This week, Vice Mayor Rosemary Kamei presented the commendation to the homicide unit.
"I hope the message that they receive is that we have a police department that is dedicated and certainly unwavering when it comes to justice and doing the right thing," she emphasized.
Even before the achievement, San Jose had consistently maintained a homicide solve rate between 80 and 90%. They contend that this accomplishment has acted as a deterrent. San Jose now boasts the lowest homicide rate per capita among the nation's 50 largest cities.
"It helps prevent that next shooting. It helps prevent that next stabbing, that next possible homicide. And I think ultimately that's what we stand for here in the San Jose Police Department," Aponte added.
The question remains whether this streak will persist. So far this year, there have been 29 homicides, with all but two cases solved. Those two cases are currently under investigation.