Editorial: Crime in Oakland goes down, rises in San Jose — what’s up with that?


Bay Area crime statistics these days seem topsy turvy. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.

In Oakland, violent crime plunged 23 percent between 2012 and 2017, including homicides, robberies, rapes and assault. A city that once seemed out of control is becoming less dangerous.

In East Palo Alto, which was the per-capita murder capital of America in the 1990s, last year there was only one homicide — not a street crime but a domestic incident. Families now let their kids play outside or walk to the store without fear of random gunfire. It has been a magical transformation.

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In San Jose, however, crime was up last year — particularly juvenile crime, whose wild percentage increases might imply the city is overrun by rampaging teen-age Huns: As of November, police showed a 69 percent year-to-date increase in juvenile arrests for robbery, 65 percent increase for burglaries and 42 percent for overall violent crimes. Car thefts by juveniles more than doubled to 124.

The capital of Silicon Valley still is not the South Side of Chicago. The numbers of crimes remain low for a city of a million people. Oakland, with 240,000 residents, still averages 1 1/2 times the amount of violent crime as San Jose.

In addition, some of the community-policing strategies that have helped Oakland and East Palo Alto get crime under control in recent years are the ones that help keep San Jose a pretty safe city. Even if it can’t officially keep its “safest big city in America” bragging rights, it is one of the safest.

There are some unnerving trends, however. The main one is a new pattern of juvenile crime sprees in the city that …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

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